After months of contentious debate, troubling press coverage and oversight reports calling into question parts of the EB-5 “Jobs for U.S. Visa” Immigrant Investor Program, Congress decided to reauthorize the program unchanged through September 2016. The provision to extend the program was strategically tied to the omnibus Federal Government funding measure passed on December 16. The program allows a foreign investor, and his or her family, to obtain a U.S. green card by making an investment in a capital project that results in the creation of permanent jobs. It’s an important source of investment in commercial real estate projects including multifamily.
Reforms suggested by Capitol Hill lawmakers from rural and urban areas would have channeled funds in the program toward more rural projects or infrastructure investment. They were abandoned at the last minute and will very likely be considered in the coming year before the next reauthorization. That’s along with program integrity measures more widely agreed upon. Basically, legislators are buying more time to craft a reform proposal over the next year.
For the time being, this clean reauthorization represents a significant victory for the multifamily industry. NMHC/NAA fought hard for the program’s reauthorization throughout this year. We will continue to engage with Congress and the Obama Administration in the coming year to maintain this important program for the multifamily industry.
H-2B Temporary Worker Update
The H-2B temporary worker program also received additional flexibility and guidance for program participants. Specifically, H-2B returning workers will not count toward the annual cap applied to the program. In addition, private wage surveys and appeals will be allowed (a reversal of pervious policy) and the stay period for temporary workers was extended. These provisions all reflect over a year of work by the construction industry and others to ensure this program remains available for employers in constrained labor markets.
- Congress Averts Shutdown, President Signs CR Through September
- Holland, Bibby Take Center Stage at Transportation Summit
- EB-5 Program Updates Proposed, Congress Signals Support
- EB-5 Extension Included in Short-Term Federal Spending Bill
- Congress Inches Closer to a Federal Government Funding Agreement