An EB-5 economist plays a significant role in the preparation and filing of EB-5 applications for both immigrant investors as well as regional center applicants; an economist’s economic impact study can be used to determine the economic job forecast and the job calculation report for these respective applications.
The economic impact study confirms that a project’s projected job creation volume is viable given the economic and demographical information presented. Each EB-5 projects’ specific business model, as well as its designated geographical areas (or areas in which designation is being sought for), are taken into consideration for its job creation forecast. USCIS will evaluate both immigrant investor and regional center designation petitions, taking into consideration the methodology used in the economic impact report as well as the accuracy and thoroughness of the economists’ data-driven analysis. Therefore, the experience and level of expertise of an EB-5 economist may be critical to an applicant’s approval chances.
Economists have traditionally used computer software driven methodologies such as IMPLAN, RIMS II, REDYN or REMI to do economic assessments for I-924, I-526, and I-829 petitions. These economic model software methodologies can quickly and efficiently model economic impacts necessary to provide job forecasts and more. Using these methodologies, economists provide a detailed economic picture of a designated regional area economy with geographic resolutions that can be seen on a national U.S. level as well as a specific ZIP Code level. IMPLAN and RIMS II had been the most commonly used models by EB-5 economists, however, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced in 2013 that they will no longer produce the input-output model RIMS II, thus impeding economists’ ability to use this methodology after the 2013 fiscal year.
Finally, an EB-5 economist who is familiar with the program’s regulations can help in the analysis of whether a particular geographical area is a targeted employment area (TEA). If the regional center or project is in a TEA then the EB-5 investment amount for each foreign investor is lowered from $1 million to $500,000. A targeted employment area is defined as either a rural area or area wherein the unemployment rate is at least 150 percent of the national average.
Whether you are an individual investor, regional center applicant, or current regional center operator, you may benefit from the expertise of an EB-5 economist in the process of filing of your petitions with USCIS.