New Effort to Boost Jobs in RI Through Foreign Investment

PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to spur job creation and boost economic development in Rhode Island, U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, and officials from Pathway Capital Partners, today gathered at Pathway’s Providence headquarters to announce a new EB-5 Regional Center aimed at attracting foreign investment to Rhode Island.

Created by Congress in the 1990s, the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” is a visa program designed to attract new capital from foreign investors interested in making a substantial investment in the U.S. economy.  Under the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program, multiple foreign investors join together, each of them contributing at least $500,000 toward new U.S. business ventures that will result in a minimum of 10 full time jobs.

There are currently over 320 EB-5 Regional Centers operating in the U.S., including a dozen in New England, but until now there haven’t been any based in Rhode Island.  This new center could help create jobs in the Ocean State and raise Rhode Island’s profile among international investors.

Regional Centers identify investment opportunities that will create jobs in local communities, often in partnership with economic development agencies.  They also assist in marketing those investment opportunities to investors from around the world and ensure that the investment offering complies with federal and state securities laws and SEC regulations as well as specific EB-5 requirements.

The centers are designated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency in charge of lawful immigration into the United States.

“Our designation will give developers a unique opportunity to capitalize projects in Rhode Island with the participation of foreign investors. The access to capital requires a mandate for jobs creation in order for the investor to obtain a visa,” said company CEO Henry Diamond.  “It becomes a very effective tool for project developers within the State; we foresee this as an important step in revitalizing the state’s economy and have been in discussions with various projects within the Capital City with the continued support of Mayor Taveras and the director of Economic Development for the City of Providence, Jim Bennett.”

“We need to be smart about bringing jobs and economic development to Rhode Island and this program can help the state become a magnet for foreign investment,” said Senator Reed, who supported Pathway’s application to be federally-designated as an EB-5 Regional Center.  “We need to work together to increase Rhode Island’s competitiveness and position the state as a destination for innovation, investment, and entrepreneurship.  This is an important program for Rhode Island with a great deal of potential to provide new entities, businesses, developments, and entrepreneurs with a new capital channel to access foreign investment and create jobs here in Rhode Island.”

“I thank Senator Reed for his leadership on bringing needed projects to Rhode Island with this important investment. The location of an EB-5 Regional Center here in Providence will help us leverage foreign investment dollars in projects within our city and across Rhode Island. These investments will create much needed jobs for area workers, supporting the work we have begun with our 20-point economic plan, Putting Providence Back to Work.”

Before an investor can participate in a Regional Center’s EB-5 investment program, they must be approved by USCIS.  Successful foreign investors who prove that their investment generated at least 10 jobs in the U.S. are eligible to get a permanent visa.

Spending associated with EB-5 investors contributed $2.65 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product during 2010-2011, according to a report by the Association to Invest in USA.  This report also found that spending by EB-5 investors also contributed $347 million to federal tax revenues and $218 million to state and local tax revenues.

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