2016 Las Vegas EB-5 Conference Recap
The 2016 Las Vegas EB-5 Conference welcomed more than 800 attendees, making it the largest domestic event in EB-5 industry history. EB5 Investors Magazine hosted the two-day event with the support of more than 60 sponsors. The event, which was held at the Bellagio on January 15th and 16th, welcomed a broad spectrum of industry stakeholders. The attendees included more than 100 migration agents from China, Vietnam, India, Latin America, and the Middle East. Immigration and securities attorneys, regional centers, developers, broker-dealers, economists, government officials and other EB-5 stakeholders also attended the conference.
The third annual Las Vegas conference began Friday afternoon with two specialized workshops. A due diligence workshop for migration agents provided an in-depth look at immigration compliance, project evaluation, and securities issues. The goal of the workshops was to provide foreign migration agents with the tools to better assist investors. At the same time, a beginner workshop aimed at immigration attorneys addressed source of funds issues and review of complex loan documents. Similar to the agent session, the workshop educated new immigration attorneys on the knowledge needed to ensure success for their clients at all stages of the immigration process. Friday concluded with a VIP networking event for migration agents, sponsors, and panelists, including Congressman Jared Polis.
Saturday’s all-day conference started with keynote addresses by Dr. Tony Alamo, Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, and John Yao, an EB-5 investor immigrant. Alamo expressed his support for the program, and the growing impact he envisions the EB-5 program having upon Nevada’s casinos and hotels. Yao captivated attendees by providing candid insight with remarkable grace and humor into the journey traveled by a family participating in the EB-5 program. While not an easy path, Yao conveyed the benefit the program has provided to his family and thanked those in attendance for supporting the program, and he recognized those in the audience that had made his American dream a reality.
Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO-2nd District) delivered the keynote address at lunch, focusing on the current legislative status of the EB-5 program. An ardent supporter of the program, Polis pledged to continue his work with Democrats and Republicans alike to enhance integrity in the EB-5 program and endeavor to make the regional center program a permanent fixture of U.S. immigration. He laid out a pragmatic approach to grow the program while protecting investors through increased integrity measures and regional center accountability. He pledged to continue to push for legislative change that will allow for more investors to participate in the program.
Twelve panel sessions featuring an array of industry leaders provided a strong educational component to the event. Attendees heard directly from Chinese migration agents that retrogression, which potentially could now create a five or six-year delay for an investor, has not tempered interest in China for the program, but is an issue that will be monitored closely. It was also noted that the increased number of projects being marketed in China has resulted in a higher quality of product for investors. Leading securities attorneys and broker-dealers discussed the impact of recent SEC enforcement actions against immigration attorneys and other individuals acting as finders. It was unanimous that the SEC will continue to closely monitor the EB-5 program and that the industry should consider securities implications closely as they conduct EB-5 operations. Additionally, there was in-depth discussion focused on new markets such as Vietnam and Latin America. Hundreds of newcomers to EB-5 benefited from beginner panels that provided insight into how to structure projects, how to raise foreign capital, understanding TEA qualifications, and basic traps to avoid in EB-5 project planning.
The EB5 Investors Magazine series of events always serves as a leading source for important legislative discussions, and the 2016 Las Vegas EB-5 Conference was no different. With panels such as “EB-5 Program Reform & Advocacy,” in combination with Congressman Polis’ keynote address, an industry-wide effort received support with the goal of working together to make appropriate EB-5 recommendations, and to ensure that any new legislation is beneficial to the program.
The conference concluded with a networking cocktail for all attendees. The infusion of newcomers at the event provided business opportunities for many in the community. EB5 Investors looks forward to hosting more events that bring the entire EB-5 community together to foster education, networking, and community engagement.
Organizations in Attendance
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