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EB-5 Program

The state-run EB-5 Program in Vermont, the Vermont Regional Center (VRC), is in the process of winding down. At the request of the Governor's office, DFR Commissioner Michael Pieciak, in consultation with Michael Schirling, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, submitted a report that reviewed the EB-5 investor program and the Vermont Regional Center. The report concluded that the state would continue to oversee existing EB-5 projects but would not take on new projects. 

As the report details, the Scott Administration agreed that the VRC should ultimately be closed with a staggered approach to minimize any adverse economic impact and ensure investors in existing, viable projects are protected.

On August 18, prior to the scheduled release of the report, the state received notification from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which administers the EB-5 program federally, of its intent to terminate the Center. USCIS’ concerns centered on the alleged fraud perpetrated by Jay Peak principals Ariel Quiros and Bill Stenger.

The state appealed that determination. The VRC continues to operate pending the resolution of the appeal. The state continues to believe that the best course of action is to wind-down over time versus an abrupt termination.

Status as of November 2023: The termination was reversed on appeal and the matter remanded for further proceedings. In addition, in 2022, Congress passed the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act which renewed the EB-5 program.

History of the EB-5 Program

The EB-5 program is a federal program giving legal, permanent residency (a Green Card) to foreign nationals in exchange for an investment in a U.S. business that creates a certain number of jobs. Vermont was unique because its EB-5 regional center administered by state government. More specifically, Vermont’s EB-5 program was administered by the Vermont Regional Center, which is comprised of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) and the Department of Financial Regulation (DFR). ACCD markets and promotes EB-5 opportunities in Vermont while DFR provides ongoing oversight of Vermont’s EB-5 projects.