EB-5 regional center in Maryland attracting international investors
Officials at the Maryland Center for Foreign Investment, which recently received federal approval to become the state's first EB-5 regional center, say that they have already secured a number of foreign investors to help fund local projects, the Gazette reports.
Through the federal EB-5 visa program, foreign nationals can obtain U.S. green card eligibility by making an investment of $1 million (or $500,000 in some areas) in an American company or project that either creates or maintains at least 10 full-time jobs.
EB-5 regional centers are a means of assisting this process, as they can be "any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment," according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
According to state officials, the regional center will assist the state's efforts to reach out to foreign investors. Additionally, the news source reports that the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development is working to market the EB-5 program through its offices abroad.
The center's goal is reportedly to bring in $120 million in foreign investment over the next two years, and officials say that interest has already been generated.
"We have a lot of potential investors lined up," Lawrence Chang, the center's president and COO, told the news source recently. "We are now in the process of opening up agencies in 13 different countries."
According to the news provider, the foreign investors come from a number of countries including Japan, Korea, Russia, Britain, Vietnam, Canada and China. Investors from China received the most U.S. green cards through the EB-5 visa program in fiscal 2009, according to the USCIS.
One of the projects that is reportedly in line to receive foreign funding is the casino being constructed at Arundel Mills mall in Hanover, Maryland, according to the news provider.
In addition to the casino, another potential development targeting EB-5 funding is Westport Waterfront, a proposed $1.5 billion transit project that would run along the Patapsco River in Baltimore. The potential transit project would reportedly be run by Turner Development, the news source said.