The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that adds Israel to the list of countries able to apply for temporary foreign investor visas.
It aims to attract more wealthy Israelis to invest in the United States as it allows those developing and directing the operations of a business in the US and investing a substantial amount of capital to be eligible for a E 2 Investor visa.
‘Israel is one of our closest allies in the world and a significant investor in the US economy. This will encourage Israeli business leaders to invest in the United States and lead to the creation of jobs for American workers,’ said Representative Howard Berman who introduced the bill.
Under the proposal the visa would last for two years and could be indefinitely extended as long as the applicant still met its terms and requirements. No date has yet been given for the programme to begin.
Currently, there are 76 countries eligible for a E 2 non immigrant investor visa. Countries include Albania, the UK, Australia, Ireland, and Germany. In 2010 over 25,500 people and their dependents were granted E 2 visas.
Under the new bill, investors from Israel would be allowed to live and work in the US initially for a period of two years, and could then apply for extensions in two year increments.
In order to be eligible for the E-2 Investor visa applicants must have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a new or existing US business and be seeking to enter the US solely to develop and direct the US business.
This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position. The applicant must also be engaging in duties at an executive or supervisory level, or have special skills or qualifications such as specialist knowledge of the organisation's products or services.
‘The investments and business enterprises fostered by this bill benefit the economies of both the United States and Israel. And they also will create jobs and strengthen the already strong friendship between Israel and the United States,’ said Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith.