Conclusions

 

The truth is that Regional Centers can fail and be terminated by USCIS.
Investors may not use an investment within a terminated regional center as a basis to establish eligibility for immigrant status under the Immigrant Investor Program. See here

USCIS can only issue 10,000 EB-5 program visas annually, of which 3,000 are reserved for the Pilot Program.
However, the Pilot Program can go beyond the 3,000 reserved visas, at present it accounts  for over 90% of visa applications per year.
Considering that applicants may also request a visa for spouse and children under 21, new applicants are now in queue for the next year.

Congress is now analyzing 3 bills related to the EB-5 program, with different proposals: increasing the number of visas, increasing investment amounts, a stricter oversight, etc.

For the moment, the EB-5 program has been extended without modifications until December 11th, 2015, we will keep you posted of what happens after that.

Regarding security, an investor can take some measures to protect himself:

  1. Insist that his investment be put in escrow until the Regional Center is approved by USCIS and he receives his conditional visa.
  2. Carefully scrutinize the Regional Center for feasibility, economic indicators, controlling privileges, payback schedule, etc.

We are aware that many hyped Regional Centers are pushing for projects that demand much greater expenditure than what can be reasonably raised with the EB-5 program.
In our opinion, investors should look at a project with a high probability of success.

There are still in the real estate market lots of distressed and abandoned properties in specific areas.
These properties are a burden for cities: tall grass and unkempt buildings get fines which remain unpaid and pile up, without mentioning property taxes.
Some cities are open to negotiation with buyers, waive some or all fines, and even help with grants toward the purchases.

A very reasonable Regional Center can be projected in such areas, bear in mind that $500,000 is not such a big investment in the U.S., it may not even suffice to buy two homes.
Those homes have to be renovated, the Regional Center will have to contract builders, and pay for permits, that involves hiring and creation of jobs.
After the homes are completed and sold or leased, property management work will have to be performed, thus creating permanent jobs.
After the depressed area is renovated there will be economic stimulus for the creation of indirect jobs.

Such a project has a high probability of being approved by the state, and subsequently by USCIS.
It offers a high degree of reliability, a very interesting rate of return and endless possibilities of growth: Regional Centers can expand and buy more properties, there are no constraints on the number of investors that can be accepted.
To allay security concerns, prospective investors will be encouraged to submit their suggestions while the contract is drafted.

We are now in the process of building such a Regional Center with specialized attorneys.

If interested, contact [email protected]