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Your Take: Residence Visa to Foreigners Who Buy $500,000+ Homes

Here’s something interesting that I read last week – a new approach to our housing problem. It’s a bill [3] co-authored by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) and it would offer a residence visa to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 on a residential home – a single family house, condo or townhouse. It’s not a completely novel bill, there are similar ones offered to foreigners who invest in businesses that create jobs in the United States, and it takes great care not to disturb the current visa program (the bill would create a new set of visas).

I believe it’s great that we’re trying to “solve” our real estate problem with something other than taxpayer money. While I understand there will be unintended consequences, there always are, I think we should be happy that our politicians are trying new approaches.

What concerns do I have? The most obvious is the reality that money can now jump you to the front of the line if you want a residence visa. I know little about the process but I do know that visas are a pain to get and now half a million dollars gets you in. I suppose if I were part of an exclusive club (US citizenship), charging half a million bucks to get in works out well for me. Just not the same folks you expected based on Lazarus’ poem on the Statue of Liberty [4].

That said, I’m eager to see where this goes. What do you think?