USCIS Orders Vermont to Shut Down Its Immigrant Investor Regional Center

Eliza Grinberg's picture

On July 10, 2018, the Associated Press reported that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has ordered Vermont to close its immigrant investor regional center.1 In this article, we will summarize the report and briefly examine its implications.

According to the report, the closure is due to alleged fraud at the Jay Peak ski resort in Vermont involving millions of dollars. Specifically, in 2016, the owner of Jay Peak and its corporate president were accused of misusing more than $200 million that they had obtained from foreign investors through the EB5 program for developments connected to the resort proper and surrounding areas. The resort owner reached an $81 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission while the president paid a $75,000 penalty.

Vermont plans to appeal the USCIS's decision. Vermont officials stated that, while they agree with the decision to close the Vermont immigrant investor regional center, they disagree with the immediate closure. Instead, the administration of Governor Phil Scott proposes to gradually wind down the Vermont immigrant investor regional center in order to protect investors and jobs. Michael Schirling, the secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, stated that “[t]he wind-down plan allows that money to remain invested in Vermont and preserves the many jobs that have been created.”

However, the USCIS evidently disagrees. The AP reports that the USCIS had told Vermont in August 2017 that it would have to close its EB5 regional center, citing both to Vermont's own lack of oversight and issues endemic to the Jay Peak resort. The AP adds that the USCIS has stated that the problems with Jay Peak may jeopardize some of the EB5 investors' eligibility for permanent resident status.

Allegations of fraud in the EB5 program are not new, and the Vermont immigrant investor regional center is one of many to have been targeted for termination due to fraud-related issues. Fraud concerns are typically cited by members of Congress who support making significant changes to the EB5 program or abolishing it altogether. With new EB5 regulations expected to be published in the near future, the issue bears close watching going forward [see article].

Individuals seeking immigrant investor status are strongly advised to consult with an experienced immigration attorney throughout the entire process. The EB5 application process and rules for qualifying for permanent resident status are complicated, and, as the Vermont case shows, some projects may be plagued by serious problems. An experienced attorney is essential for navigating the complex EB5 rules and procedures.

To learn more about the EB5 immigrant investor category, please see our growing selection of articles on site [see category].


  1. Rathke, Lisa. “Feds order shut down of Vermont immigrant investor center.” Associated Press. Jul. 10, 2018.
USCIS Orders Vermont to Shut Down Its Immigrant Investor Regional Center