MTEC SmartZone, Michigan Tech partner to create local businesses with new state immigration program

HOUGHTON, Michigan (July 16, 2014) – Michigan’s EB-5 Regional Center, a tool Governor Rick Snyder championed to attract foreign investors and create jobs in the state, was among key initiatives discussed during a public forum at MTEC SmartZone Lakeshore Center June 27.


The federal EB-5 visa program is designed to provide green cards and a path to citizenship for immigrants who invest in an enterprise that creates at least 10 direct or indirect jobs in Michigan. Investments can range from $500,000 to $1 million, depending on whether the enterprise is located in a rural or high-unemployment target area. Michigan is the second state in the nation to manage its own regional center for an immigrant visa program.


Several local and regional entities expressed interest in collaborating with the state to attract and retain international students and entrepreneurs to create more jobs. They include: MTEC SmartZone, Michigan Technological University, Northern Michigan University, and the cities of Houghton, Hancock and Marquette


Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley said, “When you consider the global reach of this area and put it together with core competencies that exist at Michigan Tech and Northern, and the type of quality of life, spirit, and the attitude of Houghton, Hancock and Marquette, it really is the type of welcoming environment to continue the tradition of excellence here in our state. The tradition of excellence is really about having an environment for success for people with all different types of backgrounds, talents and interests.”


According to Michigan Technological University President Glenn Mroz, the university draws students from more than 60 countries each year. He said, “These students call Houghton home, even after they leave. Having them be able to stay here and start a business or work for somebody else, is a great opportunity for them and the state of Michigan.”


The EB-5 Regional Center serves as an investment partner and assists with identifying qualified visa candidates, underwriting projects, verifying investors and handling the compliance process. Since the center was approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in late March, there has been a strong demand for visas.


MTEC SmartZone CEO Marilyn Clark said, “Michigan Tech has international students and MTEC SmartZone has access to funding and training programs to help create companies and jobs. We’re working together right now to develop strategies to promote and support the EB-5 program here in the U.P.”


For more information about the EB-5 Regional Center and visa program, visit http://www.michigan.gov/eb5