EB-5 immigration attorney Fredrick Voigtmann owns the Law Office of Fred Voigtmann, P.C. in California. He got involved in the EB-5 industry in 1994, when he went to work for his father, also Fred Voigtmann, and also an immigration attorney (since retired) in Taiwan.
“We were some of the first attorneys to represent EB-5 investor immigrant visa applicants at various U.S. embassies and consular posts in Asia,” he said.
In 1997, Voigtmann went to work for a law firm in Los Angeles that pioneered the EB-5 industry.
“Little did I know that I would be co-counsel on a controversial EB-5 case called, Matter of Izumii!” he said.
And the Voigtmann legacy continues.
“While I had the pleasure of working with my father from 1993 to 1997 in Taiwan, I now have the pleasure of working with my son, also Fred Voigtmann, who is also an immigration attorney since 2018,” he said.
Why did you decide to join our EB-5 verified community and what has it done for your business?
I decided to join the verified community because it gives EB-5 practitioners and service providers the opportunity to showcase the services they can offer to clients and how they can add value to a particular project or individual. EB5Investors.com has done just that for me. I am basically a solo practitioner, but I have unique experience, skills, and expertise in the EB-5 space that would otherwise not be known or available to such a wide pool of investors.
What are some current trends you are seeing in the EB-5 market?
The overall trend is down, of course, due to the combination of EB-5 program changes effective in November 2019, China visa number retrogression, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past few years, we have seen a rise in entrepreneurial direct EB-5 cases, most from Indian nationals already in the United States in other non-immigrant status, such as H-1B. I have seen a bit of rebound in regional center EB-5 cases as well because there is pent-up demand. Long I-526 processing times do not help, but if those come down a bit due to the low number of I-526 petitions filed in 2020, and if the regional center portion is renewed June 30, the trend will be up significantly.
What are your top business goals this year?
My goals are to continue to offer the highest quality legal services, not just to my EB-5 clients, but to all of my immigration clients, many of whom have suffered during the last four years due to the “invisible wall,” the “cogs” of the deportation machine, and especially due to USCIS turning its back on its mission to be a service-oriented agency and not another branch of ICE. Also, as the pandemic eases, we hope to be able to welcome clients back to our Woodland Hills and Arcadia offices for in-person meetings when it is safe to do so.
What achievement in this industry has been most rewarding? Why?
The most rewarding achievements are the ones where a client presents a difficult situation, whether an RFE, a NOID, or just a unique problem that requires a combination of creativity and hard work to create the miracle the client needed.
What are your thoughts about the redeployment situation and the best strategy to deal with it?
Entire articles can be written and have been written on this topic. In spite of the welcome clarifying language added to the Policy Manual in July 2020, USCIS needs to actually apply a consistent and clear policy about what it will consider capital at-risk in the event a project has been completed, but not all EB-5 investors have reached the conditional stage yet. If USCIS policy on EB-5 capital redeployment is going to change, it will have to go through the notice, comment, and APA rulemaking process, and of course, any changes should not be applied retroactively.
What do you think needs to be reformed with the EB-5 program at the time it is up for renewal in June?
The regional center portion of EB-5 should be made permanent; enough with these temporary reauthorizations. I think the majority of the House and Senate are in favor of EB-5; Senators Grassley and Leahy have just introduced a five-year reauthorization bill, so hopefully they can pass it before June and if so, it is likely President Biden will sign it into law.
What is your favorite quote and why?
One of my favorite quotes is in response to one of USCIS’ favorite quotes: “Simply going on record without supporting documentary evidence is not sufficient for purposes of meeting the burden of proof in these proceedings.” Matter of Soffici/Matter of Treasure Craft.
“If you tell them, they will not believe you. If you show them, they will have no choice but to agree.”
What about you would surprise others?
I lived in Taiwan for 12 years total, having graduated from Taipei American School (an ex-pat high school). While in 10th grade there, my heavy metal band and I were on a nationally televised talent show. I now play worship guitar in church!