Finding the right path to residency can be daunting for prospective immigrants. With so many options available, it’s wise to conduct thorough research and speak with an immigration attorney.
One popular immigration path is the EB-5 investor program. The program was introduced in 1990 to promote job creation and economic growth alongside immigration. The EB-5 program allows foreigners to obtain a green card by investing in job-creating EB-5 projects in the United States. Investors first receive a conditional green card, which can be converted to permanent residency after job creation has been sustained. Facilitating this process are USCIS-approved (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) regional centers.
Regional centers are organizations granted approval by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to sponsor EB-5 projects. Investing in a regional center EB-5 project has several advantages over direct investment projects.
Due to their relationship with USCIS, regional centers offer a level of accountability that is difficult to guarantee from other sources. Regional centers must provide regular reporting to maintain their federal qualification. Even though they aren’t government entities, the government holds them responsible for the ethical operation of their projects. Investors can be reassured that regional centers are being responsible with the EB-5 investments as all projects are required to undergo an annual audit or must engage a 3rd-party fund administrator to ensure all funds are being spent on eligible EB-5 expenditures.
Ten full-time jobs must be created or maintained by the project for the applicant’s permanent green card to be approved. As opposed to the direct (stand-alone investor) route that must hire and sustain 10 full-time W-2 employees, regional center projects allow investors to take advantage of indirect and induced job creation which often is quite significant and much higher than the direct job creation. This functionally means there are usually many more jobs created than are needed through the regional center route, thereby providing a job-creation cushion and safer path as immigration success is dependent on the creation of 10 jobs.
Regional centers can pool investors’ funds together to finance larger projects. This means multiple investors can invest in a project that would have been too expensive to finance alone. Doing so allows more investors to access premier investment opportunities that would have been otherwise unattainable. Regional centers like Houston EB5 take it further by assuming the developer’s role in projects. In this way, we share risk with investors and always invest behind them, demonstrating our commitment to ensuring projects’ success.
Investing through a regional center offers a more passive investment option than a direct investment project. Direct investment projects demand more day-to-day involvement from the investor and requires much project oversight. By comparison, regional centers projects help minimize the load on investors due to their passivity. Houston EB5, by functioning as a developer, further reduces the burden on investors.
One of the advantages of the EB-5 program is that it offers one of the fastest routes to permanent residency. With a successful EB-5 project, investors can qualify for conditional residency in as little as one to two years. Regional centers improve the speed of the process by providing projects ready for investment, removing the need for exhaustive research by investors. During that time, the program allows investors to live, work, and study in the United States. Even while their project is underway, investors and their families can begin life in the United States immediately through a concurrent filing of an Adjustment of Status.
Houston EB5 is an example of the traits to look for in regional centers. When evaluating regional centers, here are some factors to consider, each of which can be found in the Houston EB5 team:
- First, assess the regional center’s track record. Look for a regional center with a history of successful projects and a high rate of investor approval and EB-5 repayments. Houston EB5, for example, has enjoyed a 100% project success and capital repayment rates for the last decade.
- Secondly, consider the regional center’s transparency and communication. A good regional center regularly reports the project’s progress and responds to investor inquiries promptly. By partnering with a vertically-integrated regional center and developer, an investor can increase the likelihood of consistent communication as he/she would be speaking directly with the developers and owners of the project.
- Thirdly, evaluate the regional center’s management team. Look for a team with experience in the industry. Houston EB5 has drawn much of its leadership from immigrants who have been through this process.
- Lastly, consider the regional center’s investment strategy. Look for a regional center that invests in projects that meet your investment goals and risk tolerance. Further, it’s reassuring for investors to see regional centers that have a vested interest in the project’s success, which is demonstrated through a vertically-integrated regional center and developer. You and your immigration attorney can strategize to determine what’s acceptable for your investment.
Investing in a regional center EB-5 project can be a great and simple way to obtain permanent residency in the United States. To learn more about the EB-5 process, or available investment opportunities, contact us at Houston EB5. Free consultations are available, and we are ready to help you achieve your immigration goals.