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Are there business growth opportunities in the EB5 program?

I own a chain of popular restaurants in North Carolina. A group approached me about getting investors through the EB5 program to help grow this chain. I have 7 stores currently, am building an 8th, and have 5 more license agreements that I will be filling out in the next few years. There is a Chinese investor in the area who has eaten frequently at my restaurants and claims to have 40 friends will to invest 1 million each at an attractive rate to obtain their EB5 visas. What kind of viability is there in the EB5 program in terms of business growth? What kind of opportunities could there be? I’ve read mixed things about this program.

Answers

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    Clem Turner

    Securities Attorney
    Answered on

    The short answer to your question is yes. There are business growth opportunities with this program and my firm and others have helped and are helping restaurateurs like yourself (and other job creators) obtain low cost financing through this federal program. You should reach out to an EB-5 Service provider to address your specific issues and to determine if the Program is right for you.

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    Michael A Harris

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The EB-5 program is a unique way for businesses today to attract capital at lower interest rates than in today''s market. Depending on whether your future franchises are located in a ''rural'' or ''high unemployment'' area (called a TEA under U.S. Immigration Law) then the minimum capital investment per foreign investor could be only $500,000. Depending on the marketability of your project, a $500,000 vs. $1 million investment may be a critical decision. It is important to be wary of brokers, agents or other foreign parties offering you investors. Their reputation and success in obtaining investors needs to be well documented. As well, the EB-5 program is limited to 10,000 EB-5 visas each fiscal year. When the 10,000 cap allotment is used up in a particular year, it means that no more than around 7% of the visas may be used by a particular country. Since Chinese nationals have utilized many of the visas each year (well more than 700 per year), if the country quota is required, there could be serious effects in the EB-5 marketplace for Chinese investors. There are a lot of further issues to consider, so if you would like to speak about the program I would be happy to do so.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    EB-5 program may be an excellent opportunity for franchise restaurants. Your project will need to meet specific requirements of the EB-5 program, one of the most important of which is creating at least 10 full-time jobs per investor. Investors must also be involved in day-to-day management or policy formation. Careful planning and consultation with an experienced EB-5 legal counsel is a must. I would recommend that you first consult a qualified EB-5 immigration attorney to discuss your options. Do not hesitate to contact me should you wish to discuss your matter further and we will be happy to assist you.

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    Philip H Teplen

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Restaurants can be an excellent EB-5 investment because of the large number of low salary yet full time jobs. However, a project memorandum must be carefully structured and followed to make it work. I would be happy to discuss further with you.

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    Steven Anapoell

    Securities Attorney
    Answered on

    I am currently working on a few restaurant chains. I think it is viable.

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    Jennifer Parser

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A direct investment of $1,000,000 requires that these investors be actively involved, or if not day-to-day, at least on the board making management decisions. I am in NC as well and if you would like to discuss this further, please ask EB5INVESTORS to provide my coordinates.

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    Larry J Behar, Esq

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There are many elements of your question which are quite positive. The fact that you are interfacing with Chinese nationals is a good sign that you may have some investors in the future. The restaurant industry is also a high job creation sector and therefore quite EB5 compatible. You are free to pursue this alternative but with qualified EB5 legal counsel.

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    Karen Weinstock

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This would be an individual program but viable if you have 1-2 investors invest in each additional location. You would have to create 10 full time jobs per investor. Depending on your business model, it can work.

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    Jor Law

    RC Creator
    Answered on

    EB-5 is a tricky program, but properly used, there are definitely business growth opportunities in the EB-5 program. The program is decided to spur business and create jobs. The EB-5 industry has seen bad projects and negative press because there are a lot of bad projects and bad people desperately hoping that EB-5 money can build their projects. However, there are plenty of good projects and good folks as well. If you have a project that makes economic sense, would satisfy the requirements of the EB-5 program, and you approach EB-5 the right way with the right team, then it could certainly work for you. You should be careful to vet your team. A quick internet search will show hundreds of ''EB-5 experts'', but there are actually a small group of folks that have extensive experience and success in EB-5. Surround yourself with those folks, and you should be fine. With respect to the Chinese investor that has the 40 friends willing to invest $1 million each, just continue a dialog with him or her very carefully, and ideally with help from someone experienced in EB-5. In general, many people make claims that they have large groups of investors, but fail to materialize with the investors when it comes time to. One thing to note is that under the EB-5 program, it is possible to obtain the green card with only a $500,000 investment. Therefore, the number of investors that want to invest $1,000,000 to get that same green card isn''t generally that high. Finding a group of 40 of them that want to invest $1,000,000 would generally be a bit more unlikely.

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    James Stuber

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    EB-5 has been used in such situations, including a recent one in Florida. However, it must be carefully done, especially with respect to management of the operations of the expanded group of restaurants. Involving a professional management firm in this aspect can be useful.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    I know of several regional centers that have/are doing restaurant chains (Sonic and Voodoo) with their EB-5 program. As the most important requirement of the EB-5 program is the job creation - you need to create 10 job per each investment you receive - you need to analyze how many jobs could be created in your restaurant before you think about using EB-5 investment. Any EB-5 investor who is looking for a great rate of return as the first caveat is focusing on the wrong thing with EB-5 program. As to your Chinese investor, you may wish to see if he could produce 1 or 2 investor to start with your upcoming restaurant and actually get the I-526 filed and approved before you take on 40 investors. Please note that this is not a business advice I am providing, but as the saying goes, ''journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.'' Good luck.

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    Neville M Leslie

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is plenty of growth with the right offerings.

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    Susan Pilcher

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There are substantial growth opportunities in the EB-5 program, but the program is not always a good fit for a particular business or business model. I strongly recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney who has substantial experience working with EB-5 project developers so you can gain a realistic and comprehensive sense of the opportunities and limitations as they might apply to your business.

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    Daniel P Hanlon

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, there are many opportunities for growth in the EB-5 program. I suggest that you contact a qualified attorney specializing in US Immigration & Nationality Law to discuss your prospects.

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    Lei Jiang

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    EB5 program can get fund for your business if your business qualifies, but the process is long and additional cost is high. Also getting foreign investors is not as easy as your friend claimed. You should consult an experienced immigration lawyer.

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    Daniel B Lundy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The EB-5 program has been successfully used to fund the development of franchise restaurants. However, the EB-5 program is very complex, and has rigid timing, geographic and job creation requirements. I would recommend consulting with an EB-5 attorney with experience representing projects and regional centers.

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