Friday, April 21, 2017

As deadline nears, EB-5 bills start hitting lobbyists’ inboxes

(Source: The Real Deal) After months of close to no action, senators are finally updating their proposed reforms to the controversial EB-5 investor visa program and circulating draft legislation ahead of an April 28 expiration date. On Tuesday, the offices of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), two of the EB-5 investor visas’ loudest voices for reform, began shopping a tweaked draft of a bill they introduced in the previous Congress. Though still far away from where much of the real estate industry stands on EB-5, it does include some provisions that reflect changes that real estate lobbyists have said they could live with. Although the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama set forth a proposal to raise the minimum invest for a visa from $500,000 up to $1.35 million, Grassley and Leahy’s current legislative proposal would would usher in an $800,000 minimum.

That’s likely an acceptable figure for many EB-5 stakeholders: In a March 8 hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, Angelique Brunner, the president of EB5 Capital and EB-5 Investment Coalition’s spokesperson, said she was hoping to see legislation that would result in a minimum much lower than $1.35 million and more in the neighborhood of $1 million. She previously said that the Obama-recommended minimum of $1.35 million would “kill the program.” The bill also includes integrity measures that appear universally well received, such as requiring routine audits of regional investment centers to check for compliance with SEC regulations.        See full report here.

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