The EB-5 investment program, founded in 1990, has become popular among business people seeking a residence permit in the United States, i.e., a green card through investment in the American economy. Investing in American business projects allows the investor himself, their spouse, and their unmarried/unmarried children under 21 to obtain an immigrant visa. According to statistics, 2.5 visas will enable you to get a green card for every investment.
Are you planning to enter the EB5 program and looking for eb5 investment opportunities? Traditionally, the EB-5 investment program offers foreign investors two options: direct investment and investment in regional centers. The latter option is more popular, and most of the EB-5 visa petitions were related to participation in regional center projects.
Let’s understand these two eb5 investment opportunities options in detail:
EB-5 Regional Centers
Regional Centers are commercial entities licensed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to accept foreign investments under the EB-5 program. Unlike direct investment under the EB-5 program, which requires the creation of 10 jobs, the investor is not required to hire employees directly. This allows more flexibility in dealing with the region’s unemployment problem and considers the jobs that were created indirectly.
Until recently, investing in regional centers was one of the most popular forms of eb5 investment opportunities. According to statistics, 95% of EB-5 visa applications were based on investments in regional centers; respectively, only 5% of visa petitions were related to direct investments.
However, EB-5 investments in regional centers were suspended in June 2021 and have not been resumed. There is some hope in American business circles that this pause is temporary and that the program will become fully operational by the end of 2022. Still, no one undertakes to predict the exact date of its resumption.
EB-5 direct investment
EB-5 direct investment is currently the only way to participate in the EB-5 investment program. Direct investment involves the creation of at least ten jobs where employees will receive a salary for their work.
The regional center program is now closed. And, despite the strong lobby that seeks its opening, the exact date is still unknown. And although this news was initially received with pessimism, we would like to draw attention to the positive side of this event.
Regional center vs. direct investment
Participation in the immigration investment program is possible in two ways: through direct investment or the Regional Center. There are several criteria on which these two eb5 investment opportunities differ significantly.
The investment amount for both paths is $800,000 minimum for Targeted Employment Area (TEA) and no less than $1,050,000 for other zones.
In the case of direct investment, the applicant invests his money directly in a new commercial EB-5 project without the help of an intermediary.
If the investor chooses to cooperate with the Regional Center, the latter creates an investment fund in which investors buy a stake. Further, the Regional Center either gives a loan to the selected project or buys shares in the enterprise – this depends on the project’s structure chosen for participation in the EB-5 program.
EB-5 job creation
Only jobs related to a particular enterprise – an EB-5 project – and officially registered positions- can be considered when investing under the program. Direct investment usually creates not many jobs with permanent employment and for an extended period of time (2 years minimum).
At the same time, the program of the Regional Centers makes it possible to take into account jobs of different types: indirect and induced. The former includes jobs with intermediaries and service providers. Induced jobs are new vacancies that have appeared due to the EB-5 project (for example, the expansion of a retail outlet near the EB-5 project hotel due to increased customer flow). This expanded employment coverage through the Regional Center involves creating or retaining more jobs, which increases the likelihood that more immigrant investors will be able to meet the job creation requirements of investing in a single project.
EB-5 Project Management
Direct investments do not involve outside assistance of specialists, which means that they will require the investor to be more involved in the project and need to take a more active part in the processes.
The presence of the Regional Center in the chain of stages allows investors to take a more passive position about the project, leaving more free time for other things. This does not meet the requirements of very ambitious investors who want to keep their affairs under control but is ideal for those interested in more passive income and limits their role in the project.
Applying for an EB-5 visa is an important step for foreign nationals and their families, and their unique circumstances must be carefully considered. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a qualified EB-5 counseling firm or a USCIS-accredited regional center when determining the best eb5 investment opportunities for obtaining permanent residence in the United States.