Vermont EB-5 regional center continues developing ski resort
An EB-5 regional center in Vermont is moving forward with the second phase of development of a ski resort.
The Jay Peak Resort in Jay, Vermont, is continuing its $125 development, which includes a ski lodge, a hotel and an indoor waterpark, with the help of funds secured from foreign investors, according to the Associated Press. One of Vermont’s U.S. Senators, Patrick Leahy, was recently at the resort to break ground on the project’s second phase.
The EB-5 visa program gives foreign nationals an opportunity to earn U.S. green cards. By investing $1 million in an American business the investor becomes green card eligible if that investment creates or preserves 10 jobs.
EB-5 regional centers work to help manage and direct these investments. Recognized centers 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 Service’s website.
Some regional centers, like the Vermont Agency of Community Development, which runs the development of the Jay Peak Resort, only require a $500,000 investment because they are in areas that have a higher unemployment rate than the national average. These regions are called Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs).
Bill Stenger, the president of Jay Peak, did not mince words when it came to acknowledging the impact of the EB-5 visa program has had on the resort.
“It’s through the program known as the EB-5 foreign investment program that we’ve been able to accomplish this,” he told the news source. “We’ve been able to welcome over 240 investors, from 43 countries, representing $120 million of equity capital, not a cent of taxpayer money, all private equity, all dedicated to the development of a brand here in Jay Peak.”
Most of the foreign investors for Jay Peak come from Asia and Europe, according to James Candido, who represents the EB-5 visa program in Vermont. While many foreign nationals are intrigued by the EB-5 investment opportunities that the state presents, most decide to settle elsewhere in America.
“Florida, I know, is a big destination,” Candido told the news provider.
There are currently 94 EB-5 regional centers in operation in the U.S., according to the USCIS.