GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday created a special office to attract immigrants to the state and named its first director, an Asian immigrant who runs one of the state’s biggest floral businesses.
Bing Goei will head the Michigan Office for New Americans, an initiative the Republican governor announced in his recent State of the State address. Goei, an Indonesian of Chinese descent, settled in Grand Rapids in 1960 and is CEO of Eastern Floral.
“I’ve been truly passionate about this topic as a way to bring back the economy,” Snyder told a separate crowd that gathered to watch him sign the order.
He called Goei, 65, a “fabulous success story” who will have a “lot on his plate” immediately.
As part of his emphasis on immigration, Snyder recently asked the federal government to set aside thousands of work visas for Detroit in a bid to revive the decaying city by attracting talented immigrants. His administration also has applied to make Michigan the second state government along with Vermont to run a regional center for the EB-5 visa program, with the goal of attracting talented immigrant entrepreneurs.
Goei starts immediately and will make $135,000 a year.
“We will become in Michigan the most welcoming state for immigrants,” he said.
Goei will be the chief adviser to the governor and state departments on the formulation and implementation of Michigan’s immigration policies, programs and procedures. He created a business incubator offering low-cost space to young, minority and female entrepreneurs in Grand Rapids.
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