Question: I want to invest with EB-5 regional center so that investment is only $500,00. But I do not understand what a regional center is. Is a regional center a global company or a U.S. company? Does each regional center correspond to a specific project center or institution?
Attorney Lei Jiang: a regional center is a U.S. business which invests funds in projects in U.S. It is approved by USCIS so it can attract foreign investors. It is not an institution or governmental entity.
Question: I have a green energy project I’ve been trying to get up and running through EB-5. But it takes so long to get approved as a Regional Center, I don’t have the time. Can I buy a Regional Center? In the long run, is it better to buy a Regional Center or simply work in junction with one?
Attorney Lei Jiang: Yes, you can buy or work with a regional center. It’s difficult to say which approach is better. Each has its pros and cons. Initial investment for setting up a regional center is big, but if it’s successful, in the long run, you can recoup all expenses plus profits.
Question: Assuming Company headquartered in the US and majority shares held therein, might a Regional Center have the right to invest in projects outside US jurisdiction?
Attorney Lei Jiang: It will be difficult. How do you generate 10 U.S. fulltime jobs for each investor ? And each investor will have to invest $1 million since it is not even in U.S. Question: Does USCIS provide any foreign investor leads to Regional Centers, i.e. when foreigners make inquiries directly with USCIS, how does USCIS handle those inquiries; does it refer prospective investors to Regional Centers? If no, what is the disposition of such inquiries? If yes, what criteria is used to determine which Regional Center such inquiries will be referred to? Please provide with a list of Features and Benefits (as well as negatives, if possible) of becoming a USCIS Regional Center. I operate a boutique hedge fund which conducts most of its business cross-border and have worked nearly exclusively on this basis for > 20 years.
Attorney Lei Jiang: USCIS will not make any referral. The list of approved regional centers is on USCIS website. That is pretty much all the help you will get from USCIS. The main benefit of regional center over direct investment is that RC can count indirect jobs.
Question: Can a regional center, or those working on its behalf, charge a commission (i.e. 10%) on top of the $500,000 investment made by the person seeking the EB-5 visa?
Attorney Lei Jiang: Commission is normally paid to agents/broker. 10% commission is on the high end. Regional center will charge a management fee though.
Question: If our business plan is to build and operate a hotel, what specifically can we count as an indirect job if we become a Regional Center? Do construction jobs count as direct or indirect? If we hire consultants, do those jobs count for the total of 10? Does it matter how many of the jobs we create are direct? ID:496 Attorney Lei Jiang: Direct jobs come from counting W2. Indirect jobs mean that even a regional center does not hire a required number of employees, based on an economic model, it will create certain number of jobs. When you apply for a regional center, you will have to hire an economist. Economic report will tell you exactly how many indirect job your project will create.
©Lei Jiang Law Firm 2014.