In 1993, the U.S. Congress directed the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (now “USCIS”) to set aside 3,000 visas annually for individuals making EB-5 investments within a designated Regional Center. This Regional Center Pilot Program allows the U.S. government to encourage concentrated economic growth in specific locations.
A project within an EB-5 Regional Center is subject to the same requirements as a direct EB-5 project except as to the means by which it may demonstrate its creation of jobs for U.S. workers. Unlike other EB-5 projects, projects within a Regional Center are not required to prove that employment is created exclusively on the payroll of the EB-5 commercial enterprise. Instead, the enterprise may meet its job creation burden by showing that sufficient “indirect” job growth within the region is attributable to the economic stimulus provided by the EB-5 enterprise.
In order for a specified geographic area to be designated a Regional Center, USCIS must approve a detailed business plan describing how the proposed regional center will achieve the required job growth and remain in compliance with EB-5 program requirements. USCIS oversight of Regional Centers is increasing, and aspiring Regional Centers must satisfy USCIS that they will be vigilant in overseeing enterprises within their boundaries for ongoing compliance with the program.
In 1997, with the help of Carroll & Associates, the State of Vermont’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development, on behalf of the State, was designated a Regional Center. Over the last 15 years, Carroll & Associates, PC has assisted in development of EB-5 Regional Centers in many locations throughout the United States. We can effectively counsel Regional Center developers in any U.S. state or territory, helping to create a framework for achieving your economic development goals.