- United States
The extension of EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center program for further three years is welcomed by many state officials as a further boost to the country’s economy. The program also encourages foreign investment in local commercial real estate developments and projects.
The approval of extension is also being credited, partially, to the testimony of two Vermont Ski Resorts, Jay Peak and Sugarbush, which testified before the Congressional sub-committee in Washington last year. The US house will consider the extension after the Labor Day recess.
Among the officials who praised the extension was Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont. Sen. Leahy, who is also a co-sponsor of the bill, said that the EB-5 program has proved to be a perfect tool for bringing job growth since its introduction in the 90’s.
Commending the efforts of one of his local Regional Centers that has been using the program, Sen. Leahy said, “Vermont’s Regional Center, a national leader in using the federal program, has been a successful private-public partnership between the State of Vermont and several Vermont businesses, bringing economic development and job growth since 1997.”
Leahy said that the Vermont based ski resorts who testified last year were major users of the federal program and had launched major development projects through it. He said that the local businesses will be much encouraged as they can now pursue expansion without straining the state’s finances.
Since its introduction in 1993, the EB-5 program has been used throughout the country for funding major commercial and real estate projects. Local business and even academic institutions have been using this program to realize their expansion plans if they don’t receive any funds from the State. Foreign investors must Pledge at least $500,000 to a US based project through an approved Regional Center. Then the investors can independently apply for EB-5 visa. The investors are given a 2 year Green card upon approval of their applications by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After the conclusion of the 2 year period, the foreign investors must prove to the US immigration department that they have created at least 10 local jobs ‘As a result of their investment’.
Jeff Hopkins, the president of the Hopkins Group, a California based company, has played an important role in putting together the EB-5 investment program to provide necessary funding to local projects. Hopkins was recently approached by the University of California at Riverside’s Athletic director, Brian Wickstorm, for building an arena for the school. Hopkins told the press that the project required a maximum of $30 million of funds for its development, which were duly committed after Wickstorm decided to use the EB-5 program and went to Shanghai, China, to get Chinese investors interests in the deal.
There are almost 200 regional centers across the United States with their EB-5 applications pending. The federal program has been able to pool in billions of dollars of foreign investment in to the country in its 19 years history. It has created thousands of local jobs, contributing a lot to decreasing the local unemployment rate. Owners of different regional groups are urging the US congress to enact a legislation which will provided permanent re-authorization to EB-5 foreign investment program.
Tags: EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center program, foreign investment in the US, Immigrant investors, Immigration, United States, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, US Immigration