Blackford County Receives EB-5 Designation
September 7, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Energize-ECI EB-5 Visa Regional Center, LLC
Receives Approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to Establish an EB-5 Visa
Regional Center in East Central Indiana
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved the application of Energize-ECI EB-5 Visa Regional Center, LLC. The new Regional Center hopes to bring millions of dollars in foreign investment and thousands of new jobs to East Central Indiana during the next five years. Energize-ECI EB-5 Visa Regional Center, LLC, is a government sanctioned investment zone that provides eligible foreign investors a faster path to U.S. Citizenship in exchange for employment based visa rules by Regional Center is organized by the USCIS, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and is commonly known as the EB-5 immigrant investor program. The Regional Center acts as a facilitator bringing the project developers and foreign investors together, reviewing and evaluating proposed business plans for projects and placing qualifying projects before interested investors.
Congress created fifth employment based preference (EB-5) immigrant visa category in 1990 for qualified foreigners seeking to invest in a business that will benefit the U.S. economy and create or save at least 10 full-time jobs for American workers. The basic amount required to invest is $1 million, although that amount is reduced to $500,000 if the investment is made in a rural or high unemployment area (call a Targeted Employment Area – TEA). Of the approximately 10,000 EB-5 green cards available each year, 3,000 are reserved for foreign nationals who invest in a Targeted Employment Area *TEA) through a Regional Center such as Energize-ECI EB-5 Visa Regional Center, LLC.
EB-5 investors may be eligible for an EB-5 immigrant visa if they have invested – or are actively in the process of investing – the required amount of capital into one of the following for-profit business types:
- A new commercial enterprise
- An enterprise which will expand to 140% of pre-investment
Net worth or number of employees, or:
- A troubled business in which jobs will be preserved
To encourage foreign EB-5 investment in the U.S. economy, Congress created an EB-5 pilot program in 1992. By doing so, Congress permitted the USCIS to designate qualified applicants as Regional Centers. A Regional Center is a private enterprise or or governmental entity with a targeted investment program within a defined geographic region. Over 98 per cent of immigration investment is conducted through USCIS approved Regional Centers.
The EB-5 Visa program provides qualifying investors a temporary green card in exchange for their capital infusion from $500,000 to $1 million to a new or existing business and the creation or saving of at least10 new jobs for American workers. After two years, the investor/applicant may petition the USCIS to remove the initial restrictions from their visas. The defined geographic business investment development area authorized by the USCIS for the Energize-ECI
EB-5 Regional Center, LLC includes: Blackford, Delaware, Fayette, Grant, Henry, Jay, Madison, Randolph and Rush counties in East Central Indiana – a region hit especially hard by the domestic auto industry downturn and the lingering recession. All of the nine ECI counties offer some $500,000 investment level opportunities, with Delaware and Madison counties, along with the City of Marion, also having $1 million investment areas.
The Regional Center will focus on offering EB-5 compliant investment opportunities in new or qualifying existing commercial enterprises in the following six target industry USCIS approved economic categories: (1) Agriculture, food processing, forestry, fishing and hunting; (2) Construction; (3) Manufacturing and advanced technologies; (4) Information technologies; (5) Transportation, warehousing, distribution and logistics; and (6) Manufacturing and processing – green technologies and recycling. The Energize-ECI EB-5 Visa Regional Center, LLC is the first Indiana owned and operated EB-5 Regional Center in the state. The Regional Center is currently consulting with two active prospects who could bring about $500 million of capital investment and more than 2,000 new jobs.
There are four steps to becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) through the EB-5 program.
- USCIS form I-526 immigrant petition approval.
- Application for an immigrant visa either through adjustment of status
(form I-485) in the United States with USCIS, or through an application
for immigrant visa (form DS-230) with the Department of State (DOS).
- Upon approval of the form I-485 or admission on an EB-5 immigrant visa, the alien is granted two-years of conditional permanent resident status.
- A form I-829 petition to remove the conditions on the LPR status must be
filed at the end of the two-year conditional period. If the alien has fulfilled the EB-5 requirements, then the conditions will be removed and the alien will be an unconditional LPR.
Roy Budd, Energize-ECI EB-5 Regional Center, LLC principal, advised, “This is a prime example of economic development regionalism at its best. The local economic development directors and mayors of the communities in nine ECI counties have been very supportive and helpful in this endeavor. Typical EB-5 projects utilize traditional forms of financing along with the EB-5 investments – as each EB-5 investor amount must result in the creation or saving of 10 new jobs for Americans. This is a great new tool to accelerate economic development and momentum in East Central Indiana. We expect to begin generating great interest here in Indiana – and around the world.”
Tom Farris, also a principal in the new Regional Center, added, “The application process resulting in approval has taken over 17 months of USCIS review and about one year of research and planning prior to submitting our application. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the special efforts of the office of Congressman Mike pence and Senator Richard Lugar, assisting by the offices of Senator Dan Coats and Congressman Dan Burton and our legal counsel. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation also provided great support – and we worked together to help them establish a state protocol for reviewing EB-5 Targeted Employment Area matters. It was truly a team effort. We are establishing our evaluation criteria for reviewing business plans which may be appropriate for financing by EB-5 investors, and we’ll be making that information public within the next 30 days. We have a lot of work to do in launching our Regional Center now that approval has been received – plus many people to contact about the development and investment opportunities offered by the EB-5 program.” Marlene Pulley, Regional Center principal will serve as Director of Compliance for the Regional Center.
Additional Information to Expand the Release to a Feature Story
The economic development needs for our region are real… Area unemployment numbers in 2011 remain high and business layoffs and closures continue throughout East Central Indiana. We exceed state and nation statistics in both areas, plus fall below State and national numbers for per capita and household incomes. It is imperative for East Central Indiana to continue to be innovative in the diversification of its economic base to one comprised of industries offering new investment, long-term stability, growth potential, and which best utilize the resources of the region. Energize-ECI EB-5 Visa / Regional Center, LLC identified the U.S. Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 Visa) as a program offering great opportunities and potential for encouraging foreign new-business investment within our nine-county area – including Blackford, Delaware, Fayette, Grant, Henry, Jay, Madison, Randolph and Rush counties. Based the location of proposed project and development opportunities, the Regional Center may petition the USCIS to expand the defined geographic coverage area to meet the demand generated outside our initial 9-county area. This proven program is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. With this important and under-utilized program come the benefits of new employment and new-business capital investment requirements designated by the program.
PURPOSE OF THE ENERGIZE-ECI EB-5 VISA, LLC REGIONAL CENTER
- Establish an operating Regional Center in 2011
- Market our Regional Center program to people throughout the world, interested in becoming a U.S. Citizen through the EB-5 Visa program
- Create new investment in the region
- Expand job creation opportunities – workforce development
- Position the region as a “hot spot” for international business investment
- Provide entrepreneurial opportunities for related businesses
- Develop greater diversification of the ECI and Indiana economies
- Provide for the development of targeted industry clusters
- Serve as a model for other regions
Organization / Address
Energize-ECI EB-5 Visa Regional Center, LLC
P.O. Box 1912, Muncie, IN 47308-1912
Phone: (765) 254.1420 / Fax: (765) 254.1450
WHAT IS AN IMMIGRANT INVESTOR EB-5 VISA REGIONAL CENTER?
The U.S. Immigrant Investor Program is an employment-creation visa program made possible by Section 810 of Public Law 102-395. The program began in accordance with a congressional mandate aimed at stimulating economic activity and creating jobs for U.S. workers, while simultaneously affording eligible aliens the opportunity to be legal permanent residents (LPR). The program provides for the issuance of conditional (two-year) green cards to federally approved accredited investors and their families (spouses and unmarried children under age 21 at time of application) who invest a minimum of USD 500,000 to USD I,000,000 in a qualified project, within the designated target areas, and which creates or saves a combined total of at least 10 full-time direct and/or indirect jobs. After the initial two-year period, the Regional Center has an economist develop a study to determine if this investment meets all the federal guidelines. Upon the satisfaction of this requirement, the investor’s legal representative files form I-829 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Upon approval, the conditional green cards become permanent.
The Pilot Program for Immigrant Investor (EB-5 Visa) Regional Centers is designed to promote the attainment of EB-5 Visas by foreign investors by facilitating, promoting and managing the program on a regional geographic basis. The EB-5 Visa provides the most direct path to Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) for foreign investors. USCIS may issue up to 10,000 EB-5 Immigrant Investors Visas each year throughout the U.S. 3,000 of the EB-5 Visas are reserved for the EB-5 (Visa) Regional Centers. Typically, they have only granted less than 50% of the allotments, as the program and its benefits have not been well-publicized. We see the program as an extremely beneficial addition to the economic development tool box for the nine counties of East Central Indiana, the State of Indiana and the United States.
There are two ways for a foreign investor to obtain an EB-5 Visa: he/she can make a direct investment into a business or make an investment into a federally approved Regional Center. The direct investment is just that – an investment in any company, regardless of federal designations or approvals. It is more difficult for a foreign investor to obtain LPR through the direct investment scenario. Investment in a Regional Center increases the chances for a foreign investor to obtain LPR, partially through the additional personalized services available for each EB-5 candidate.
The Department of Homeland Security designates Regional Centers once the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) application has been completed. The application process is a difficult undertaking may take more than a year to receive. However, once approved, the Regional Center has a great ability to create jobs because of the pooling of investor funds. The 90+ Regional Centers that are currently located throughout the U.S. are allowed to utilize both direct and indirect job creation to meet the foreign investor’s ten-job requirement. The foreign investor is not required to participate in the day-to-day management responsibilities of the business, nor does the investor need to reside in the region.
EB-5 VISA REGIONAL CENTER DESIGNATION APPLICATION PROCESS
The basic requirements for Regional Center designation state that applicants must show how their proposed program will:
- Focus on a geographic region. A clear narrative description of a contiguous geographic area. All Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) and Rural Areas (RA) within our nine-county East Central Indiana region must be clearly delineated. A TEA is a geographic area with a population greater than 20,000 with an unemployment rate 150% of the national rate. An RA is a geographic area outside of a metropolitan statistical area or the outer boundary of a city with a population more than 20,000. The investment threshold for a TEA or RA is $500,000 per investor – as opposed to the usual $1,000,000 investment.
- Promote economic growth through increased export sales (recommended, but no longer a requirement).
- Promote improved regional productivity throughout East Central Indiana
- Create a minimum of ten jobs directly or indirectly per investor. Job creation methodology/model should be supported by sound and accepted economic forecasting tools, including, but not limited to, Impact Analysis for Planning or Regional Input Output Modeling Systems.
- Increase domestic capital investment.
- Be promoted and publicized to prospective investors.
- Have a positive impact on the regional or national economy through increasedhousehold earnings.
- Generate a greater demand for business services, utilities, maintenance, repair and construction jobs both in and around the center.
IMMIGRANT INVESTOR EB-5 VISA REGIONAL CENTER RESPONSIBILITIES
Regional Centers must submit information to the USCIS each federal fiscal year. This information includes simple record-keeping data such as the name, birth-date, alien registration number, nationality, city and state of residence for each immigrant investor. The Regional Center must also document its management activities, investor screening processes and investment supervision. If a Regional Center has not attracted investors in any given reporting period, it must explain why and submit a plan for attracting investors. Regional Centers must also notify the USCIS if they have made any changes concerning their structure, operation or administration that require an amendment of their approval notice.
Regional Centers also must calculate the total money invested through the Regional Center each fiscal year, as well as the total money invested into specific categories of business activities and the determination of how much money came from U.S. versus immigrant investors. The Regional Center must also list the total number of jobs created and/or preserved, as well as the names and locations of each company that received immigrant investor’s money. Finally, the Regional Center should indicate the number of I-526 and I-829 petitions approved that fiscal year.
HOW DOES A REGIONAL CENTER DESIGNATION BENEFIT THE
NINE-COUNTY ENERGIZE-ECI, INC. REGION?
A designated Regional Center is a great marketing tool for attracting foreign direct investment to East Central Indiana. Job creation is required with each investment – increasing direct and indirect employment for the region. Simply stated, a Regional Center is a powerful tool to attract direct foreign investment for the development or redevelopment of an economically distressed or emerging region. We have received inquiries from a number of developers with projects for EB-5 Regional Centers. Now that the Energize-ECI EB-5 Visa Regional Center, LLC has received approval, we will be able to formally begin helping to turn qualifying projects into new jobs and capital investment for East Central Indiana. Two of the proposed projects would create over 2,000 jobs and bring over $500 million in capital investments to the region.
“The opportunity is truly beautiful to individuals who want to live and contribute their energy in the United States… And the EB-5 Program creates economic growth and especially jobs for Americans.”
-Maurice Berez, Program’s Chief Adjudications Officer – United States Citizenship
and Immigration Services. (From the Nov. 2nd 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal)
GEOGRAPHIC AREA - PARTICIPATING COUNTIES FOR IMMIGRANT INVESTOR EB-5 VISA REGIONAL CENTER, LLC IN EAST CENTRAL INDIANA
COUNTY POPULATION COUNTY SEAT
Blackford 13,189 Hartford City
Delaware 115,419 Muncie
Fayette 24,273 Connersville
Grant 68,847 Marion
Henry 47,181 New Castle
Jay 21,514 Portland
Madison 131,312 Anderson
Randolph 25,859 Winchester
Rush 17,494 Rushville
THE ENERGIZE-ECI EB-5 VISA REGIONAL CENTER, LLC APPROACH TO IMMIGRANT INVESTOR REGIONAL CENTER DEVELOPMENT
- Receive EB-5 Regional Center approval for 9-county region (8/30/11)
- Establish and operate Immigrant Investor EB-5 Regional Center
- Build local community base of acceptance, support and involvement
- Establish a board of directors to provide governance and vision
- Market and promote EB-5 Visa Regional Center throughout the world
- Manage operations in compliance with USCIS regulations
- Engage immigrant investors into ECI region and communities
- Partner with related organizations where possible
- Develop exciting projects in the targeted industries
- Develop approved econometric models to determine job creation
- Develop clear repayment plans and exit strategies to protect investors
- Develop a carefully planned direct investment process to meet requirements for approval of immigration petitions
ROLE OF ENERGIZE-ECI EB-5 VISA REGIONAL CENTER, LLC
IMMIGRANT INVESTOR REGIONAL CENTER
- Provide EB-5 consulting services
- Identify, review and quantify investment projects as having the potentialto meet federal and Energize-ECI, Inc. guidelines
- Present investment opportunity portfolio to qualified investors, brokers and other contacts
- Prepare and provide all necessary documentation from beginning to end (utilizing outside professional services where necessary)
- Monitor qualified projects for job creation and other USCIS program requirements
- Comply with all federal guidelines under the Immigrant Investor
EB-5 Visa Regional Center Program
BENEFITS TO IMMIGRANT INVESTORS
- May establish or invest in a business in the U.S which creates a minimumof ten jobs for American workers by each investor
- Qualified investors and their families (spouse and unmarried children under age 21) are eligible for green cards after application approval
- May sponsor green cards for relatives
- Although investment must occur within a regional center’s geographicarea, the investor and his/her family may live and work anywhere in theUnited States
- No minimum requirements as to the investor’s age, business training or experience or language skills
- Freedom from day-to-day business operations (if so desired)
- Ability to travel outside of the United States and return to the United Stateswithout having to apply for an additional visa
- Education benefits of permanent residents, including admission to statecolleges and universities at resident’s cost
- Eligible to become a U.S. Citizen once a permanent resident for more than5 years, and meeting all USCIS requirements
EXPECTED OUTCOMES FROM ENERGIZE-ECI EB-5 VISA REGIONAL CENTER, LLC INITIATIVES
- Increased capital investments within East Central Indiana
- Program will bring additional higher paying jobs for the region, as each investment requires the creation of 10 new jobs (direct and/or indirect)
- Establishment of an Immigrant Investor EB-5 Visa Regional Center will focus addition business attention to East Central Indiana
- Help improve the quality of life in East Central Indiana through creating new, higher-paying jobs and bringing about new opportunities for the region
- Encourages human capital development and retention of skilled and educated workers within our 9-county region
- Fosters the development and targeting of industry clusters within East Central Indiana to better align the area with growth-oriented technology industries
- Provides a real opportunity for the region to rebuild its economic base and provides a spark to ignite future growth based on regional cooperation and partnerships within the region and with the IEDC. The need is real…
HOW EB-5 / VISA REGIONAL CENTER ANALYSIS – PROJECT OUTCOMES ALIGN WITH INDIANA’S ACCELERATING GROWTH PLAN AND WITH U.S. DOC/EDA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES AND PROGRAMS
The Energize-ECI EB-5 Visa / Regional Center, LLC initiative is a perfect match with the objectives of the Accelerating Growth and Indiana Economic Development Corporation programs of the State of Indiana an the federal strategies and programs initiated by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is also in alignment with economic development needs and strategies of the participating counties.
The Energize-ECI EB-5 Visa Regional Center, LLC will help:
- Expand job creation opportunities for the region – direct and indirect
- Bring capital investment to the region
- Immigrants will add to quality of life of the region
- Address the regional need for higher skill / higher wage jobs
- Increase the population of the region – which is experiencing a decrease
- Develop human capital and helps retain talent
- Utilize regional training and re-training services
- Foster entrepreneurialism in region
- Target East Central Indiana for prime cluster opportunities
- Involve all nine Energize-ECI counties
- Promote increased export sales
- Improve regional productivity
- Empower regional leaders to address area challenges and develop gain, allows Indiana and the United States to show its ingenuity and
- leadership in economic development opportunities in a pro-active way
- Involves a diverse collaboration of stakeholders in the project
- Spark a new spirit of collaboration in developing similar projects
- Provide a working example to others regarding collaborative efforts
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