Congress to ease entry for Israeli investors

US legislators praise bill, say it will create jobs internally while investing in relationship with ally.

US Congress 390 (photo credit: REUTERS)
US Congress 390
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – A bill to help Israeli investors live in the United States is expected to pass the US House later on Monday.
Under the legislation, Israelis would be eligible for an E2 visa if they develop and direct the operations of a business in which they’ve invested – or are in the process of investing – a substantial amount of capital in the US.
The visa would last for two years and could be indefinitely extended so long as the applicant still met the terms of the visa.
Until now, Israelis have been precluded from applying for the E2 visa because of US limitations on which countries are eligible, a change that can only be made with legislation.
“Israel is a trusted friend and a special ally, and this legislation expands business opportunities that will provide economic benefits for both countries,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Representative Howard Berman (D-California), a sponsor of the legislation.
House Judiciary Committee chairman Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chief Republican cosponsor of the legislation, described the bill as one that “helps spur job creation and economic growth here at home and invests in our relationship with one of our closest allies.”
A similar piece of legislation has been sponsored by Senators Chuck Schumer (DNew York), Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) and Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) in the Senate, which must also pass the bill before it can be signed into law by US President Barack Obama.
A senior Senate aide explained that the bill has been moving more slowly through his chamber because Senate leaders are working to combine several other visa-related bills into one visa reform package. But he said the bill had broad bipartisan support and was likely to be taken up in the next few weeks.