The Senate passed a bill (H.R. 3992) by unanimous consent that adds Israel to the list of more than 75 countries eligible for E-2 investor visas, thereby allowing Israelis to expand their businesses in the United States and facilitate job creation and economic growth. The bill, which passed the House unanimously in March, now goes to the president for his signature.
The House version of the bill was championed by Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). The Senate version was championed by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Jon Kyl (R-AZ).
“This bill sends enterprising Israeli investors a clear and unambiguous message: The United States is open for business,” said Rep. Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The expansion of Israeli enterprises here will result in job creation for American workers. Israel is an incubator of entrepreneurship, already a global leader in security and defense technologies, medicine, agriculture, and clean energy. Our nation will benefit greatly from bringing their innovations and scientific advancements to our shores.”
Israel constitutes a key U.S. trading partner, with bilateral trade amounting to some $36.9 billion in 2011.