United States: Congress Passes Bill to Extend E-Verify and Other Immigration Programs
Congress has passed a bill that will extend for three years several immigration programs, including E-Verify and the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program, that are set to expire on September 30, 2012. The bill now moves to the President for signature.
Congress has passed a bill (S.3245) that will extend until September 30, 2015 the E-Verify program and the EB-5 permanent residence subcategory for foreign nationals who invest in designated regional centers, as well as two other immigration programs. These programs are currently set to expire on September 30, 2012. The bill now moves to the President for signature.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program, which was established by Congress in 1992 as a pilot and has since been reauthorized several times, allows foreign investors to obtain permanent residence in the United States by investing in designated regional centers. The bill will also remove the program’s pilot designation, suggesting Congress’s recognition of the ongoing viability and permanence of the EB-5 category.
E-Verify was originally scheduled to expire in November 2008 but has been extended via a series of short-term reauthorizations, as well as a longer three-year extension signed by the President in 2009.
The bill will also extend the Conrad 30 program, which provides a waiver of the J-1 home residence requirement for foreign national physicians working in underserved areas of the United States, and the employment-based fourth preference (EB-4) permanent residence subcategory for non-minister religious workers.
Once the President signs the bill, the Department of State will likely update the October Visa Bulletin to change the availability of regional center EB-5 and EB-4 non-minister immigrant visas to “current” from unavailable.