The A.B. Won Pat International Airport would become a fast lane to U.S. permanent residency for foreign investors if it gets designated as a regional center for the Immigrant Investor Visa Program or EB5.
The Guam International Airport Authority has issued a request for proposal soliciting a contractor that will develop GIAA’s application package to become a regional center for EB5.
“By becoming a regional center, GIAA is opening up investment opportunities specific to airport properties to fund several projects that are ineligible for federal funding,” according to Rolenda Faasuamalie, airport marketing administrator.
Under the EB5 immigrant investor program, Faasuamalie said, a foreign investor may acquire green cards for himself and his family in exchange for a minimum $1 million investment in a project that creates 10 or more jobs in a U.S. state or territory.
According to the U.S Immigration and Customs Services’ information website, there are 150 government-designed regional centers throughout the United States as of Jan. 5, 2010.
One of them is the Guam Strategic Development Regional Center, which was approved by the USCIS to facilitate the EB-5 investor visa program for Guam in 2009.
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The U.S. Congress created the EB-5 immigrant investor program in the early 1990s, and set aside 10,000 visas per year for this program.
The program serves as an incentive for foreign investors to infuse money into the U.S. economy and create jobs for U.S. workers.
According to the USCIS website, the program failed to attract a large number of investors during the first few years, prompting the Congress to create the Regional Center Pilot Program in 1993.
The program, which has been renewed several times and was recently extended until 2014, allows private and governmental entities within the U.S. to establish regional centers with 3,000 visas reserved.
According to Guam Strategic Development Regional Center, commercial business targets for the Guam regional center include retail trade, hotels, restaurants, warehousing and distribution, offices, and mixed use development.
“The initial projects under consideration are bonded warehousing, a commercial complex for professionals in the island’s capital, luxury shoreline condominiums, multi-use commercial and industrial development, and construction.
Properties for these projects are already under the control of Guam Strategic Development,” according to the GSDRC website.