Warren Buffett and Bill Gates comment on how the United States economy benefits from the EB-5 program

The EB-5 program has been getting a lot of buzz in recent years from a number of prominent figures and associations. Several notable Congressmen have been quite active and vocal about helping promote the program. The SEC has even become more involved in ensuring the program and its participants continue operating lawfully.

Last week, Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates wrote an op-ed for The New York Times on immigration reform entitled, “Break the Immigration Impasse,” where they highlighted the benefits of immigration reform and EB-5. They not only believe that “people willing to invest in America and create jobs deserve the opportunity to do so,” but also that “expanded investments of that kind would help us jolt the demand side of our economy” with minimal social costs on the country.

But what exactly is the EB-5 program? The EB-5 immigrant investor program was created by Congress in 1990 as a method of bringing in capital and creating jobs domestically. Foreign nationals who seek permanent resident status in the U.S. must invest capital into commercial enterprises that create local jobs and satisfy certain requirements in return for a Green Card. Participation in the program for a prospective U.S. immigrant involves an at risk investment of $1 million, or under certain conditions, $500,000, with each investment creating or preserving at least 10 full time jobs.

In the last decade alone, over 130,000 American jobs have been created from more than $6.5B in foreign direct investments. Countries with investors participating in the program include China, Taiwan, India, and the United Kingdom to name a few.

The EB-5 Regional Center (Pilot) Program was introduced in 1992 and, despite having been regularly reauthorized for three year terms since that time, is still not permanent. As Adelson, Buffett, and Gates imply, immigration reform is very important to the U.S. economy. It is particularly important for the EB-5 Regional Center program to be renewed or made permanent, as it helps stimulate the economy with little to no cost to the American public.

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