One of the major avenues available for immigration for entrepreneurial noncitizens is the EB-5 category. As we have covered in more detail before, the EB-5 program is for those who have $500,000 or $1 million to invest and can create 10 jobs. The EB-5 program has gone through many changes since its inception, and recent advancements are reflective of those changes.
Since publishing the new Policy Memorandum on May 30, 2013, USCIS has approved several dozen Regional Centers with the new policies in place. Some Regional Centers were approved for hypothetical projects, like this Regional Center. The approval for hypothetical projects allows for faster adjudication, but heightened scrutiny later at the I-526 stage for individual investors. Furthermore, the slew of Regional Center approvals provides more options for potential EB-5 Investors especially since the May 30 Policy Memorandum makes it much easier to expand a Regional Center’s geographic scope and industries.
The increased attention in the EB-5 area has also increased the participation of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Most famously is the SEC’s involvement with a Regional Center based out of Chicago where over $145 million in securities were allegedly defrauded from EB-5 Investors. Since then, the SEC and USCIS has teamed up to make sure that EB-5 Investors are protected under both federal immigration and securities laws. One notable development in this area is USCIS’s hiring of its own securities lawyers to lend an understanding of EB-5 from a securities perspective.
Another trend in the EB-5 world is the higher rate of return on investments. The competition between Regional Centers, better USCIS guidance, heightened exposure of the EB-5 program to foreign investors, and increased experience of EB-5 attorneys has led to creating EB-5 investment projects that not only create a better chance of receiving a green card but also a positive return on one’s investment. Regional Centers are realizing that the likelihood of receiving a green card is tied to sound business practices, and thus EB-5 Investors are more likely to invest if the rate of return is higher.
For more information about EB-5, contact our office so that we may help answer your questions.