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House committee backs visa bill for Israeli investors

JTA

February 28, 2012 | 11:26 am

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.)

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.)

The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation that would add Israel to the list of countries eligible for non-immigrant investor visas in the United States.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and approved Feb. 28 by the House of Representatives committee in a voice vote, would grant Israelis the ability to acquire the E-2 visa if similarly situated U.S. nationals are eligible for non-immigrant visas in Israel. The E-2 visa permits Israeli investors to live and work in the United States in order to be closer to their investments.

“We should be doing everything we can to bring additional Israeli innovations and technologies to the United States,” Berman, who is the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in his remarks before the Judiciary Committee vote. “Israel is a global leader in security and defense technologies, medicine, agriculture, high-tech, and clean energy advancements. Our nation will benefit from bringing their business to our shores.”

The House bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Judiciary Immigration Policy Subcommittee.

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