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How do regional centers find EB-5 projects?

As a regional center, how does one find an EB-5 project to promote? Do regional centers partner with different developers and, if so, how is that done?

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    Regional centers market their projects through foreign immigration consultants. Developers also seek out reputable, well-established regional centers for their projects.

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    Regional centers find EB-5 projects in a variety of ways. Primarily, potential developers looking for EB-5 financing frequently seek legal advice from experienced immigration attorneys with significant experience in representing EB-5 developers. The attorney would then informally vet the project and make a preliminary assessment as to whether or not the particular project might be appropriate for raising EB-5 funds through potential EB-5 investors. The attorney would then refer the project developer to one or more established regional centers with jurisdiction over the area in which the particular developer intended to develop his project. Presumably, some developers would also be able to research which EB-5 regional centers cover the geographical area in which their project was located and would make a direct approach to those regional centers.

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    There are typically two business models at work here. One, regional centers may sponsor their own projects (essentially, providing financing for their own projects). Or two, regional centers may sponsor projects for other developers instead (essentially acting as an EB-5 bank).

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    There are several procedures and steps for finding projects. Some are created by the regional centers (RCs) themselves and others have been through partnerships and alliances with developers, depending on the industry. However, a major factor for the successful creation and qualification of projects for EB-5 development depends on the due diligence studies and implementation plan(s) that an RC must put together particularly in terms of the need to ensure that any project developer is reliable and has technical, management and financial capabilities. Advisably, consult an EB-5 attorney who can liaise with other professionals to put a workable plan together. The ultimate decision may come down to the prevailing and unique characteristics of the project developer's industry.

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    There is no single way. Developers seek out reputable regional centers and regional centers seek developers wishing to raise capital. Some developers now set up their own regional centers.

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    Because most regional centers operate like banks, they have developers and businesses pitch their projects all the time. But, due to the uniqueness of how the EB-5 program works (i.e. the requirement of creation of 10 full-time, permanent jobs per each investor), there are only certain types of appropriate projects from which the regional centers could choose. Not every regional center will be as conscientious or diligent in this process, but most good ones will have due diligence analysts on staff and spend a lot of money on the proper economic report and legal fees to make sure the businesses/projects they choose will be EB-5 compliant.

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    Regional centers use marketing and foreign brokers to sell their projects. Or developers seek out regional centers to find investors for their projects.

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    It really just comes down to hard work, networking and marketing. Finding suitable projects is a difficult task for anyone in any industry. Within the EB-5 industry, you will have to think about what strengths you have as a regional center and play to those strengths. Some regional centers tout their connections to those who do not have any. Some will play up their compliance and operations capabilities. Others will point to their proven success in rapidly funding projects. Some just try to offer low cost and hassle-free use of their regional center. If you find a good developer that has a decent deal flow, partnering with them on multiple suitable projects is certainly an option. The hardest part here is finding someone. Once you do, connect with deal advisors like corporate and transactional attorneys for guidance on how to proceed. You will soon need to bring in other EB-5 professionals but transactional attorneys are the ones who put deals together both inside and outside of the EB-5 world.

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