Vermont EB-5 Regional Center Executive Director Brent Raymond accepted an invitation from U.S. Ambassador Thummalapally to Belize and spoke at the two-day 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit Academy March 23-24 in National Harbor, Maryland. Raymond participated in the panel discussion entitled “EB-5: How Does it Fit with FDI Development?” The focus of the panel was to educate economic development organizations from around the United States regarding EB-5 best practices.
Since 2007, Vermont has attracted over $420 million in foreign direct investment capital, utilizing the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) EB-5 visa program. Projects approved under the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center include Country Home Products in Vergennes, Jay Peak Resort projects, Mount Snow in West Dover, Quechee Village, Seldon Technologies in Windsor, SouthFace Village at Okemo in Ludlow, Stowe Aviation in Morrisville, Sugarbush in Warren, and Trapp Family Lodge & Brewery in Stowe.
The Vermont EB-5 Regional Center is owned and operated by the state of Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development (ACCD). ACCD entered into an agreement late last year with the state Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) to utilize the latter’s expertise in securities law to help monitor and administer the growing program.
The ACCD/DFR arrangement is similar to the way they share responsibility for Vermont’s gold-standard captive insurance program.
Raymond discussed job creation and other positive economic impacts the EB-5 program has provided the state. He cited a July, 2014 economic review & revenue forecast update prepared for the state of Vermont Emergency Board and Legislative Joint Fiscal Committee. For the first time in history, Orleans County (which includes Jay and Newport in the Northeast Kingdom) was shown to have the highest rate of job growth since both the last cyclical peak and the cyclical low point of the recent recession. The forecast report stated Orleans County was “benefiting from widely-publicized EB-5 supported projects” and that “Orleans County is also one of the few counties in which the labor force has grown since the last cyclical peak.”
USCIS is a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security. ACCD owns and operates the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center as an economic development tool to stimulate job creation and livable wages for Vermonters.