Congress Acts to Expand U.S.- Israeli Investments

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On Friday, June 8, 2012, President Obama signed into law H.R. 3992, which permits otherwise eligible Israeli nationals to receive E-2 non-immigrant visas to the United States as investors. Both the Senate and the House unanimously passed the legislation on May 24, 2012 and March 20, 2012, respectively, with implementation conditional on American citizens being granted similar immigration status by Israel.

The E-2 nonimmigrant classification is an important vehicle for attracting foreign capital into the United States. It permits individuals or organizations who have invested a "substantial amount of capital" into an American enterprise and their qualified employees to enter the United States to manage or otherwise direct the operations of that enterprise. Prior to this legislation, there were 80 countries whose citizens were eligible for E-2 nonimmigrant classification in connection with American investments. The requisite condition of reciprocity for implementation of this law, however, is contrary to Israel's current immigration policy, which does not grant work permits to foreign nationals based on investments. The Israel-America Chamber of Commerce and its visa committee are promoters of the Israeli implementation of a reciprocal ordinance.

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