Lansing working to attract EB-5 investors
Lansing, Michigan, recently received designation as an EB-5 regional center and is now working to interest foreign nationals in potential EB-5 investment opportunities.
The Lansing Economic Development Corporation has been searching for potential investors who want to participate in the EB-5 visa program, according to the Lansing State Journal. The EB-5 regional center’s president and chief executive officer, Bob Trezise, has found that many foreigners are familiar with the program and respond to the term EB-5 without needing a translation or explanation.
“You can see them immediately perk up,” he told the news source.
The EB-5 visa program allows foreign nationals a chance to become eligible for U.S. green cards if they invest $1 million in an American business and that investment creates or preserves 10 jobs. EB-5 regional centers help to manage the investments. Some regional centers, like the Lansing Economic Development Corporation, are designated as Targeted Employment Areas, which are distinguished by the fact that they represent an area with a higher unemployment rate than the nation as a whole. Only $500,000 need be invested in such areas.
The EB-5 visa program is an excellent way for U.S. businesses to find capital to undertake projects, something that is not always easy Trezise notes.
“It addresses, I think, a very difficult economic problem in the country since 9/11, which is we have clamped down so severely on immigration and green cards that it’s just really hurt our overall economy,” Trezise said. “This is one small way of addressing that issue.”
Several Lansing developers are considering getting involved with the program to help fund various projects. One such developer, Pat Gillespie, is considering it to aid in the funding of the planned Market Place project in the city’s downtown area.
“It’s creative and innovative and getting regular financing is not easy now,” he said. “[EB-5] is not easy, but it’s just another means of bridging the gap between the financing requirements of today.”
While the EB-5 visa program is an excellent way to fund projects it can at times be difficult to meet its job creation requirements.
“If you’re putting up any kind of manufacturing facility, that’s heavy in capital and not necessarily heavy in labor,” Gary McRay, an attorney who runs another EB-5 regional center in Michigan, told the news provider. “So, there are challenges to having the right mix of capital and jobs.”