Washington: Two American senators have introduced a bill that calls for the creation of a new homeowner visa that will allow foreigners who spend at least USD 500,000 on residential property in the US to obtain visas allowing them to live in the country. (Agencies)
The bipartisan proposal, part of a package that also would make it easier for international tourists to visit the US, is similar to an existing programme that puts foreigners on a fast track to a green card if they invest at least USD 500,000 in an American business that creates at least 10 jobs.
"Many people want to come and live in the United States," said New York's Republican Senator Charles Schumer, who introduced the legislation on Thursday in the Senate along with Utah's Republican Senator Mike Lee.
"They will be here spending money and paying taxes, and the most important thing is they'll sop up the extra supply of homes we have right now compared to demand, and that's what's dragging our economy down."
The legislation would create a new homeowner visa that would be renewable every three years, but the proposal would not put them on a path to citizenship.
To be eligible, a person would have to buy a primary residence of at least USD 250,000 and spend a total of USD 500,000 on residential real estate. The other properties could be rented.
The programme would come with several restrictions, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The purchase would have to be in cash, with no mortgage or home equity loan are allowed. And the property would have to be bought for more than its most recent appraised value, Schumer said.
The buyer would have to live in the home for at least 180 days each year, which would require paying US income taxes on any foreign earnings. Buyers would no longer be eligible for the temporary visa if the property were sold.
The buyer would be able to bring a spouse and minor children to live in the US but would need to apply for a work visa to hold a job. Neither the buyer nor dependents would be eligible to receive Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security benefits.
"The bill does not limit people from being productive," Schumer said. "It simply prevents them from coming here and taking jobs that otherwise would go to Americans."
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett and others have advocated boosting the US economy by attracting foreign investment, the report noted.
The Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America Act, or VISIT-USA Act, aims to do that by also making several other changes to visa policies.
Washington: Two American senators have introduced a bill that calls for the creation of a new homeowner visa that will allow foreigners who spend at least USD 500,000 on residential property in the US to obtain visas allowing them to live in the country.