By Esther Wong and EB5 Investors Magazine
We are honored to welcome Attorney Esther Wong to the Editorial Board of EB5 Investors Magazine. Wong will help us identify quality content and topics for the magazine’s publications. Wong recently shared with us her invaluable experience as an attorney working with the EB-5 program.
Q: It’s such a pleasure to meet you! We are honored to have you with us. Please take a moment to tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional background.
A: Thank you! I am the founding attorney of the Law Offices of Esther Wong, located in Alhambra, California, and I specialize in matters of naturalization and immigration law in the United States. Since 2001, I have been assisting Chinese investors by helping them evaluate their legitimate source of funds and by resolving any issues involved in the filing of I-526 and I-829. I currently have more than ten years of professional experience in immigration law, and my clients encompass a wide variety of different industries including hospitality, real estate, agriculture, farming, furniture, and food services. I am licensed to practice law in both New York and California,and I am fluent in English, Chinese Mandarin and Cantonese, which allows me to effectively communicate with my international clients and represent them successfully.
Q: In your professional opinion, what are the distinct advantages of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program that draw the interest of Chinese investors of all ages?
A: In comparison with other programs, the EB-5 program is more feasible. Few countries allow investors to have a stake in their business project, become preferred shareholders while at the same time allowing an exit strategy to be put into the business plan, and finally be able to obtain a green card. However, when looking at it from the business and immigration perspective, investors and intermediary agencies must make available all pertinent marketing information from developers for each project, and they must choose reliable projects in order to successfully complete the first step of immigration to the United States.
Q. What has left a lasting impression on you throughout your career in practicing immigration law?
A: In 2001, I often handled relatively simple EB-5 cases in which investors bought a restaurant and invested $1 million to create ten jobs. Although the "Regional Center Pilot Program" was enacted early in 1992, developers had not been taking advantage of it. It was only in 2008 that developers began to seek assistance from attorneys practicing in securities and immigration laws to aid them in finding creative ways to attract overseas investors.
I am very optimistic for the market of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program regarding the next five to ten years, because according to some internal data there are still vast markets to be developed in the second and third tier-cities of China. Many powerful investors are unfamiliar with the EB-5 program and have a limited understanding of the immigrant investor programs in the United States. China is a special case, many investors have their own needs and aspirations to invest in real estate and are passionate about development in a range of projects such as the hotel industry. They often do not realize that they can obtain a green card through immigrant investor programs until they have come to the United States to invest. Therefore, the Chinese market still has a lot of room to learn and grow.
Q: What information would you like to share with the readers of the EB5 Investors Magazine?
A: As a loyal reader myself, I feel the articles are neutral and objective, highly professional, and very helpful to the readers. As a member of the editorial board, I hope to use my own professional expertise to contribute to the caliber of information in the magazine. Many readers have rich experience in the EB-5 immigration industry, and they are willing to use this platform to share their experiences, even regarding overcoming failure. This is a precious resource. Readers will learn much from their vivid stories and I hope that they will take the time to read the articles thoroughly and find information that could help them on their journey.
To better readers’ understanding and preparation for EB-5, I hope our editorial board and creative team can update information in a timely manner regarding the industry and inform the readers of all current information on U.S. policy changes and project news. Meanwhile, we also hope to welcome more voices from China to use this platform to give feedback to the legislators and practitioners, thus helping increase the appeal for the EB-5 program.