Senate Approves Leahy Bill To Continue Job-Creating Foreign Investment Program
Vermont has led in using EB-5 program to spur investments that have brought hundreds of jobs to the state
August 3, 2012
(FRIDAY, AUG. 3) – The U.S. Senate has approved legislation authored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to continue the EB-5 foreign investment program that Vermont has used to create hundreds of jobs across the state.
Leahy’s measure, approved Thursday night, would extend the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center program for three years. Current authority for the pilot program runs out at the end of September. The legislation – paired with extensions of other programs also set to expire – now goes to the House for action.
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. Two Vermont ski resorts, Jay Peak and Sugarbush, are active participants in the program and have used it to launch major development projects. Other capital investment projects are in the works around the state. Vermont’s projects have drawn business and tourism to the state, fueling local economies and creating jobs.
Leahy also has introduced legislation for a permanent charter for the program, to improve oversight and investment planning by states and entrepreneurs. In the meantime he has successfully won earlier short-term extensions of the program.
Leahy said, “Vermont has been a model for the success of this job creation program, and I want to see that great success continue for Vermonters and for entrepreneurs who want to pursue business opportunities in our great state. This is another step toward my goal of a permanent charter for the program, to give U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services the tools it needs to keep this program a strong, secure and vital part of our economy.”
Since it was created in 1993 the program has attracted more than a billion dollars in foreign investment to the United States and created thousands of new domestic jobs. There are now more than 200 Regional Centers across the country, with new applications pending. The Regional Center program attracts foreign investors seeking legal permanent residency and a chance to invest in the American economy. Investors must pledge a minimum of $500,000 to a project within an approved regional center and must independently apply for EB-5 visas. If approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), foreign investors are granted conditional two-year green cards. After two years, investors must provide proof that they have created at least ten jobs as a result of their investments and that they have met additional investment requirements set by USCIS. As a result of the program’s popularity, additional applications are pending with USCIS to establish new Regional Centers in several states.
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