Portland eyes EB-5 visa program
With lending from banks down due to the recent recession, many companies and municipalities have looked for alternative ways to get capital. One of the most popular methods has been to participate in the EB-5 visa program.
The city of Portland, Oregon, is the latest area to eye the EB-5 visa program. The Portland Development Commission (PDC) is currently looking for private companies that could form an EB-5 regional center and attract foreign investment to the area, according to the Portland Business Journal.
The EB-5 visa program gives foreign nationals a chance to earn U.S. green cards through investing in American businesses. If foreigners invest $1 million in a business or project, and that investment leads to the creation or preservation of 10 jobs, they become eligible for their green card.
EB-5 regional centers help manage and direct investments. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, an EB-5 regional center 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.”
PDC issued its “request for expressions of interest” to gauge whether there are any businesses in the area that would be able to run an EB-5 regional center. PDC is hoping to fund some projects through the EB-5 visa program.
“This would be a good avenue to collect capital for projects PDC is interested in doing,” Peter Englander, a PDC development manager, told the news source.
Local politicians hope that the EB-5 visa program would help to develop Portland’s key economic development centers, which include technology and sustainability.
“Because there are incentives built into this for target investment areas, it’s in line with our urban development goals,” Noah Siegel, international relations director for Portland Mayor Sam Adams, told the news provider. “Our goal is that the EB-5 program relates well to Portland.”
Some of the projects that PDC is hoping to undertake by attracting immigrant investors include improving a popular Asian market and providing office and residential space in the area.
Portland is likely considering getting involved in the EB-5 visa program because it has seen the benefits that Seattle has reaped from its involvement. Seattle has attracted more than $100 million in development initiatives through the EB-5 program, while Portland has yet to participate in the 20-year-old program.