by EB5 Investors Magazine Staff
Vietnam is emerging as one of the fastest-growing EB-5 markets in the world, and immigration agencies are starting to work with more and more investors looking to immigrate to the United States. Cam Ly Duong, one of the most successful migration agents in Vietnam and CEO of agency ImmiCa Investment Immigration, spoke with EB-5 Investors Magazine about how the Vietnamese immigration industry works, and how it may differ from the more-familiar Chinese market for professionals in the United States.
EB5 Investors Magazine: What motivated you to enter into this industry?
Cam Ly Duong: This is a rather new market in Vietnam but EB-5 is a perfect door opening to successful investors who wish to expand internationally. For me, I feel like I am a very lucky person who has achieved a lot in my own life. That is the reason why I want to give back to society, by helping the other people so that they can have goodness in their lives too, and so that they can provide their family with a good environment for living and working.
EB5 Investors Magazine: How does starting up a migration agency work in Vietnam? Is there a license for immigration services?
Cam Ly Duong: Yes, we have all the required licenses for doing business in Vietnam and, of course, all of the people who are providing immigration services need licenses.
EB5 Investors Magazine: Our readers might wonder how the Vietnamese market compares to the Chinese system, where migration agents are commonly licensed and licensing can be divided by city or region. What does licensing look like for the Vietnamese immigration market?
Cam Ly Duong: Yes, it’s the same for the Vietnamese market. For example, they have a required license for each region, in markets like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Da Nang.
EB5 Investors Magazine: Which are the first and second most popular immigration destinations for your clients?
Cam Ly Duong: Currently, we’re providing immigration services for clients who want to move to the United States, to Canada, and to Europe. The program that is always the most popular is the U.S. immigration program.
EB5 Investors Magazine: Are there any major concerns your clients express about EB-5? If so, what is their main concern?
Cam Ly Duong: Usually the clients have two main concerns. They want to find and invest in a good and sustainable EB-5 program, and they want to invest in a sustainable project that to make sure they will get their green cards and have their money returned.
EB5 Investors Magazine: What do you feel is the biggest obstacle for the expansion of EB-5 in Vietnam? For example, would it be the competition from other countries, or government regulations?
Cam Ly Duong: One of the obstacles is showing the source of funds and the path of funds, because in developing countries financial documents are not as clear, nor as transparent as they are required to be to participate in the EB-5 program. So it’s a little bit complicated.
EB5 Investors Magazine: For the source of funds and path of funds, is that a major challenge for potential EB-5 investors or is it something that you all can normally find a solution to?
Cam Ly Duong: Most of the time we are able to recommend ways and methods for clients to show the path of funds. Usually it depends on their financial capability. In some cases, if they have a well-paid job or valuable property, it becomes a faster and much easier process. In other cases, it will be slower. The second obstacle is that EB-5 is generally new to the Vietnam market, so it’s a real challenge to educate clients about the EB-5 program, that it’s a valid program, and that it’s trusted by a lot of investors.
EB5 Investors Magazine: Generally speaking, what are the biggest challenges for a Vietnamese investor to overcome when looking at the EB-5 program? And which challenges do you see, globally, for the EB-5 program overall?
Cam Ly Duong: We think the biggest obstacle for the EB-5 market worldwide is that in recent years, EB-5 has had legislators suggest a lot of changes regarding the EB-5 law and that makes a lot of clients, especially clients in Asia, hesitant to join the program. The second obstacle is even though it’s a government program, the U.S. government hasn’t done much outreach. So if they can show more time and effort in reaching out to investors, then that should be easier.
EB5 Investors Magazine: What type of projects do you look for? Do you look for hotels, apartments, or energy projects?
Cam Ly Duong: Usually we prefer projects that have a big appraisal value and fixed assets. The land or the building – their value should be very high compared to the amount of EB-5 investment they raised.
EB5 Investors Magazine: Do you offer both the regional center option and the direct investment option?
Cam Ly Duong: We have a lot of clients who invest through the regional center program and very few clients who do direct investment.
EB5 Investors Magazine: In terms of underwriting, can you list the top three things that you would look for in a project, and explain each one?
Cam Ly Duong: First of all, for the EB-5 funding in the capital stack, we usually prefer projects that have a safe zone or limit of EB-5 capital raised. Usually we prefer projects that have EB-5 capital in the form of loans instead of equity investment. If they have a very clear, transparent and sufficient loan agreement, then we would prefer to work with that project.
EB5 Investors Magazine: What is something unique about your company that you feel makes you stand out from other migration agencies?
Cam Ly Duong: We’re very proud that our clients trust us, and I think that is thanks to our service. One of the things that we spend time and effort on is looking at the projects very closely. We bring our clients very good, sustainable, and safe projects that can ensure their green card and their money returned. And beyond everything, we are dedicated to our client’s happiness and well-being. We provide a full relocation package that takes good care of them after they first immigrate to the United States, to make sure they transition well.
EB5 Investors Magazine: Is there anything else you wanted to share about ImmiCa Investment Immigration?
Cam Ly Duong: Currently, the EB-5 market in Vietnam is developing quickly and it’s very dynamic. We are trying our best to help potential investors. We are hoping we can make our contribution to the market to make it more transparent, and we want to provide clients with all the information they need so that they can make the decision based on their own case and an individualized decision for themselves.