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How can our landscaping business qualify for EB-5?

My parents are interested in the EB-5 program. They want to invest in landscaping in Florida by buying a property to serve as the office/storage for a garden shop. Then, they would acquire several small landscaping service companies to build a bigger service company that would hire the 10 employees required in two years. Can the $500,000 minimum investment be met by first acquiring real estate and then several businesses? And can the employees hired by the additional companies be claimed as a new source of employment?

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Real estate may not be an acceptable EB-5 expenditure, but otherwise it looks like you may have the start of something interesting. Please work with EB-5 immigration counsel to get your potential business in compliance with EB-5 rules, regulations and procedures, and to prepare the required supporting documents you will need for the USCIS petition.

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    James Yang

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    At the most basic level, the EB-5 program requires investors to invest at least $500,000 (in a TEA area) and use the money to build a business that can create 10 permanent full-time jobs. With a proper business plan and execution on that plan, your idea may potentially work as an EB-5 investment.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    What you describe is not unusual; however, it appears you are suggesting a series of acquisitions and an eventual merger. Most often this tends to strictly work in a direct investment. Have a clear goal and know how to get there in terms of a clear cut plan on your acquisitions purposely to ensure the emerging company can qualify for EB-5 designation. Advisably, seek the advice of corporate and EB-5 attorneys in this circumstance.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As long as the additional companies are wholly-owned subsidiaries of your parents' new commercial enterprise, and as long as the employees are employed directly by the new commercial enterprise or by one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries, then the full-time jobs could be credited for EB-5 purposes. Also, the use of funds to buy the property can be included in the EB-5 capital investment amount. It is best to consult an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney to advise you on the specific requirements.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Almost certainly you will have to consult with experienced immigration counsel in order to fully answer your question. However, generally speaking, a foreign national may make a direct EB-5 investment without going through a regional center provided that the investment opportunity is properly structured. They can do so in their own business provided that it will create at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers over a 2+ year period of time. U.S. workers would be defined as U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States. In order to invest at the lower $500,000 amount, the enterprise must be located in a Targeted Economic Area (TEA). As a general rule, the investment and employment creation must also be in single company rather than several distinct companies. Again, your question raises a number of complex issues and you should consult with experienced immigration counsel.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The employees should be new hires. Unless the businesses you acquire are considered a "troubled business" under the statute, you cannot count the existing employees just because there is a change in ownership. If by real estate you mean simply land, then it is not considered as part of the $500,000 investment.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Buying existing businesses is very complicated and rarely effective. Also, buying real estate is not usually perceived as job creating. Finally, be careful because it is rumored that many in the landscaping industry do not have lawful status and you cannot count undocumented workers.

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