Visas for Home-Investors???

Two US Senators, Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Mike Lee (R-UT), recently introduced a bipartisan bill that would give residence visas to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to buy houses in the U.S. Designed to spur foreign investment in the flagging US Property Market, the Bill aims to entitle the investor to bring his family to live in the US. The Bill does however have strings attached - the residence visa is terminated if the investor sells the property and, more importantly, the visa does not entitle the investor or any member of his family to work in the USA.

So, unless the foreign investor and his wife and kids under the age of 18 are independently wealthy and capable and desirous of sitting around all day doing not a stitch of work, there is ample incentive and opportunity to seek employment opportunities. And since they are not entitled to work, this employment will be under the table with income either not being declared at all or simply being repatriated to the home country.

Indeed, this Bill offers nothing new - there has, to my knowledge, never been any restrictions on foreigners wanting to pay cash to own property in the USA - China has been doing this for years. All they need is a visitor-visa to enter the USA for limited periods of time. The proposed Bill now allows them to stay here permanently - well, at least until they sell the property or run out of permanent vacation cash and need to start earning again.

So here's the question of the moment - what's the difference between John coming to live legally and work illegally in the USA on a home-investor visa and Juan coming to live illegally and work illegally in the USA on a "Rio Grande Crossing-visa"?

Yup, you guessed it - $500K! The going rate for a Permanent Residence Green-Card to work illegally in the USA.

As my Pappy said to me "Son, everyone's a whore. You just gotta get agreement on the price!"

And there's even an added benefit - of your $500k investment you can spend as little as $250k on one property and the rest on a couple of rental properties which you can rent out as a source of income. Uh? But I thought the Bill excluded a work-authorization? So running a property rental business is not work? Wonder what the IRS will say about THAT?

If only the two esteemed Senators would invest an equal amount of energy and creativeness in repairing the legal immigration system which is blocking so many new skills from entering and staying in this country - less than 10 percent of permanent residence Green-cards (to live AND work legally in the USA) are granted on economic grounds.

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