Federal 'EB-5' Visa Program Driving Investment in the Rust Belt

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has significant potential to drive more resources into America’s distressed urban cores, according to a recent report authored by Initiative for a Competitive Inner City.

2 minute read

July 9, 2014, 8:00 AM PDT

By [email protected]

Kim Zeuli details the findings of the ICIC study about the economic development potential of the EB-5 program, especially as a draw to immigrants to their communities.

"The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is another tool cities could use to attract immigrants. With support from the Surdna Foundation, the Garfield Foundation and The Boston Foundation, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) spent the past year analyzing the EB-5 program and its potential to create economic opportunity in urban areas. ICIC interviewed over 50 EB-5 experts and economic development professionals and identified 178 EB-5 projects across the U.S., including many in the rust belt. Last week, ICIC released its research findings in a report, 'Increasing Economic Opportunity in Distressed Urban Communities with EB-5.'"

"To date, a conservative ICIC estimate suggests EB-5 loans have provided at least $8 billion of direct investment into American businesses and created at least 160,000 jobs. The program’s 'visa-for-dollars' moniker describes the fundamental incentive within the program: EB-5 visas are granted to foreign nationals who make a significant investment in a business that creates at least 10 full-time jobs. While the EB-5 Program was created in 1990 to stimulate economic growth in the U.S., it has been underutilized in distressed urban areas, exercised primarily through real estate projects, and largely overlooked by city governments, economic development corporations, foundations and other organizations actively promoting inner city investment."

"Interest in EB-5 as a new investment tool was relatively limited until the recent recession and subsequent contraction of more traditional sources of capital. Last year the government received over 6,300 applications to the EB-5 program. Since its inception, the EB-5 program has attracted investors from numerous countries but it is increasingly dominated by investors from China. In 2013, over 80 percent of EB-5 visas were issued to Chinese nationals. The program also attracts investors from South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, India, Mexico, Iran, Canada, Venezuela and Japan, among other countries. While China will certainly continue to dominate the EB-5 investor market in the near-term, investors may be attracted from a wide variety of countries." 

Monday, July 7, 2014 in Governing

Large historic homes and white picket fences line a street.

The End of Single-Family Zoning in Arlington County, Virginia

Arlington County is the latest jurisdiction in the country to effectively end single-family zoning.

March 23, 2023 - The Washington Post

Amtrak Acela Express train passing through Harrison station in Newark, New Jersey

‘Train Daddy’ Andy Byford to Oversee Amtrak’s High-Speed Rail Efforts

Byford, who formerly ran NYC Transit and Transport for London, could bring renewed vigor to the agency’s plans to expand regional rail in the United States.

March 28, 2023 - StreetsBlog NYC

Buses in downtown Seattle on the dedicated 3rd Avenue bus lanes

Seattle Bus Lane Cameras Capture Over 100,000 Violations

An automated traffic enforcement pilot program caught drivers illegally using transit lanes more than 110,000 times in less than a year.

March 28, 2023 - Axios

View of Statue of Liberty with New York City skyline in background

Immigration Grows, Population Drops in Many U.S. Counties

International immigration to the country’s most populous areas tripled even as major metropolitan areas continued to lose population.

March 31 - The New York Times

Detroit Sports Arena

$616 Million in Development Incentives Approved for District Detroit

The “Transformational Brownfield” incentives approved by the Detroit City Council for the $1.5 billion District Detroit still require approval by the state.

March 31 - Detroit Free Press

A red sign reads, “Welcome to New Canaan.”

Affordable Housing Development Rejected for Lack of Third Staircase in Connecticut

The New Canaan Planning Commission rejected a development proposal, including 31 below-market-rate apartments, for lack of a third staircase, among other reasons, at a time when advocates are pushing to relax two-staircase requirements.

March 31 - Stamford Advocate

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

HUD’s 2023 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.