The Immigrant Investor Program is expected to bring hundreds
of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs in the next few years to a part of
Vermont that could use an economic shot in the arm.  Two prominent businessmen have reportedly
secured $250 in foreign investments for several commercial projects in a
handful of towns in the northeastern corner of the state, just a few miles
south of the Canadian border.

Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros own the Jay Peak Resort in
Vermont's Jay State Forest and are the driving force behind a number of other
EB-5 projects scheduled to break ground soon. 
They hope the impending infusion of capital from immigrant entrepreneurs
will not only boost the local economies of several communities that dot a largely
overlooked area of the state, but will have an enduring impact on the rest of Vermont
as well.

Stenger and Quiros envision a total of seven projects
stretching from Jay State Forest in the north, to the town Newport in the east,
and the Burke Mountain Resort to the south, which is less than an hour from the
New Hampshire border.  Much of the
foreign investment-fueled development will involve renovations and additions to
the Jay Peak Resort and the Burke Mountain Resort.  Forest trails will be expanded and over a
thousand rooms will be added to lodges and hotels to these resorts, which
Stenger and Quiros hope will turn these areas into major tourist destinations.  The town of Newport, which sits about halfway
between Jay State Forest and Burke Mountain, will also see substantial
investment in hotels, a lakefront marina, and a new airport hangar, all of
which, it is hoped, will transform Newport into a holiday hotspot and transit
center for out-of-staters trying to get to the two major resorts to the west
and south.

Although a majority of the foreign investments will be
committed to these real estate developments and hospitality projects, some of
the money will also go to a manufacturing facility that has been around for
over 100 years and produces efficient, environmentally-friendly windows.  This diversified portfolio of EB-5
investments may contribute to an economic revival in Vermont and its neighbors
and surrounding states.

EB-5 investments are increasingly popular among foreign
nationals seeking permanent residency, as well as among U.S.-based developers
who are finding it difficult to round up the money needed to finance commercial
projects.  The federal government offers
green cards to immigrant entrepreneurs who invest at least $500,000 in a
commercial enterprise in the United States, and create 10 permanent full-time
jobs in the process.  The green card that
is awarded to foreign investors is also referred to as an EB-5 visa,
for the employment-based category it represents. 

The economies of nations throughout Asia and South America
are booming, and the EB-5 visa is becoming an increasingly affordable option
for wealthy foreign entrepreneurs. 
10,000 EB-5 visas are set aside each year, and although fewer than half
of the annual allotment has ever been needed, the last few years have seen
dramatic increases in the number of EB-5 visa applications, nearly all of them
from immigrant entrepreneurs through the EB-5 program.  This trend is expected to continue into the
foreseeable future, as America's economy struggles through the Great Recession and
wealthy foreign nationals seize the opportunity to obtain green cards for
themselves and their families through commercial investments here.

The EB-5 investments in Vermont are expected to generate up
to 5,000 permanent jobs for various aspects of the projects, including the
hotels, airport, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses.  Stenger and Quiros have already lined up 500
foreign investors willing to commit $500,000 each, and they are hoping that
they will be able to raise an equal amount in the next few years in order to
help fully fund their vision.  When all
is said and done, the people of Vermont, the Northeastern regional economy, and
foreign investors will all benefit from this innovative program.