Federal officials earlier this month approved the first Utah enterprise, the Orem-based Mountain States Center for Foreign Investment, authorized to act as a regional center to receive foreign investments through the "EB-5 visa" program.
In that program, foreigners who invest $1 million and create at least 10 full-time jobs are awarded permanent legal status "green cards" (along with members of their immediate families). But such people need to invest only half as much — $500,000 — if they put their money into projects run by "regional centers" approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
"We are the first and only regional center approved in Utah, and that's a pretty exciting thing not only for us but for the state," said Mountain States President and Chief Executive Officer Heath Westfall. "We anticipate funding our first project in the next 60 days," Westfall said. "The project is ready to go." He said construction on hotels is expected to take 18 months to two years, "so you create a substantial amount of construction jobs and all the jobs that go along with it" from suppliers. Once built, he estimates hotels will each create "25 to 40 direct jobs, and the indirect job creation is substantial. The Deseret News