Oct. 24, 2011 – A recent legislative proposal by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) has received considerable attention for its originality, if not its audacity.  Under the “Increasing Home Ownership for Priority Visitors” program, foreigners could obtain a three-year visa to allow presence (but not employment) in the U.S. in exchange for purchasing real property valued at $500,000 or greater and residing there a minimum of six months a year.  While this proposal scores points for originality by addressing two pressing issues (immigration reform and the housing crisis), most practitioners will tell you that as-yet-revealed details of this proposal will likely underscore vast weaknesses as a workable visa category.  Would tracks of foreclosed homes become havens for wealthy Saudi or Chinese investors?  How do you verify the six-month residence requirement without adding bureacracy?  If employment authorization is not embedded, why would wealthy foreigners be satisfied at buying a six-month vacation home with a likely negligible ROI?  Could they obtain dual status to work?  Bottom line: Don’t hold your breath, Donald Trumpski.

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