Michigan city becomes EB-5 regional center
A city in Michigan has become an EB-5 regional center after its application was approved and is now prepared to reap the rewards that the EB-5 visa program can potentially bring it.
Lansing, Michigan, started on its course to becoming an EB-5 regional center two-and-a-half years ago when Mayor Virg Bernero read an article about the EB-5 visa program in the Wall Street Journal, according to the Lansing State Journal.
“I got a copy of the article and threw it on (Lansing Economic Development Corporation President and CEO) Bob Trezise’s desk and said, ‘We ought to be doing this here,’” Bernero told the news source.
Recently, Lansing finally gained approval as an EB-5 regional center, becoming only the third such entity in Michigan.
“It’s an incredible opportunity,” Bernero said. “I think it will make Lansing a model of how this can be done across the state to attract foreign investment.”
The EB-5 visa program was started in 1990 to attract foreign investment to America. In exchange for becoming eligible for a U.S. green card, foreign nationals must invest $1 million in an American business and the investment must create or preserve 10 jobs.
Shortly after the initial program was created, the Regional Center Pilot Program was started to help direct and manage the foreign investment. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services defines these centers as “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 Association to Invest in America, 90 percent of investments in the EB-5 visa program are handled through EB-5 regional centers.
With the recent struggles of the economy, the EB-5 visa program is becoming a more attractive way to get investments for U.S. companies, Steve Yale-Loehr, an immigration professor at Cornell University and an EB-5 expert, told the news provider.
“With the great recession and the capital crunch, developers have been unable to find easy access to domestic capital and so they have stumbled upon the EB-5 program as another way to raise money for their projects,” he said.
Lansing’s mayor is open for investment from any foreign country, but is specifically hoping to target India and China.
“I think about places where our money has gone, where a lot of American companies have gone and where American jobs have gone,” he said to the news source. “I’d like to get some of that investment back here.”