By Suneel Ratan

(FORTUNE Magazine) – It's time for an addition to the welcome that the Statue of Liberty extends to the world's tired, poor, and huddled masses. The U.S. will now proffer an official special hand to foreign millionaires. Taking a cue from Canada and Australia, the U.S. immigration department will allot 10,000 visas a year to immigrants and their families who bring in no less than $1 million and create at least ten jobs. A minimum of 3,000 of the newly arriving families must put their money in depressed areas, defined as places where unemployment is 50% higher than the national average. Paul Schmidt, an immigration attorney in Washington, D.C., says the program could bring in $4 billion. The money must come from abroad and be legally earned. Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Middle East are expected to provide most of these new immigrants because they have incentives to leave their homelands. John Trasvina, an aide to Senator Paul Simon (D-Illinois), who helped push the program through Congress last year, expects them to head mostly for California, Hawaii, or New York, where many already have relatives. Consultant Paul Donnelly, who has set up a Washington, D.C., firm to handle investor visas, says state and local officials would be smart to package incentives such as job training to lure investors. Says he: ''It's potentially the biggest job-creation program in the country, and it won't cost taxpayers a dime.''