By Robert Kraft
As the EB-5 industry has continued to expand over the past decade, trade conferences like EB5 Investors Magazine’s events around the world have played a vital role for many EB-5 professionals to stay educated and grow their business.
EB-5 conferences produce and offer access to the industry’s leading professionals and thought leaders, with topics ranging from federal policy and international law to sales strategies and networking. Attending these events provides an opportunity to exchange industry best practices and provide clarity through the shared knowledge that comes from such a gathering.
The EB-5 and investment migration industry is growing and changing in ways we never could have imagined. Ever-changing geopolitical relationships and economic challenges make these types of events even more essential.
THE POWER OF EVENT SPEAKERS
Over the years speakers like Charles Oppenheim, chief of the U.S. Department of State’s visa controls and reporting office, and Julia Harrison, deputy chief of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, have shared their in-depth knowledge of current issues and hot topics to educate the industry.
It’s common knowledge that each month the Investor Program Office (IPO) and USCIS publish processing times as well as quarterly data on adjudication trends. Unfortunately, the posted wait times for adjudication of I-526 and I-829 petitions continue to grow. Although USCIS has ample information online, the most telling story about how and why things happen can be better understood through direct interaction with industry professionals. Investing the time and taking advantage of the opportunity to listen to veteran speakers provides further clarity that cannot be gained from reading a brochure or a post online.
Last year, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was the keynote speaker at the EB5 Investors Magazine’s Conference in San Francisco. There, the former U.S. presidential candidate praised the EB-5 program and the positive economic impact it has had throughout the United States. As the son of immigrants, he also expressed his deep appreciation for living the American Dream. His candor and reflection instilled a kind of emotion that can only be conveyed in person. Understanding that lawmakers are not just knowledgeable about the benefits of investment migration, but actually support it, is valuable in its own right.
UNDERSTANDING THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY
Most recently, Congress extended the EB-5 program to Sept. 30, 2018. While this may have provided many a sense of relief, imminent changes remain on the horizon. Coming together at EB-5 industry events helps raise awareness, educates individuals on the necessity of supporting comprehensive legislation, and builds consensus for fair-minded comprehensive legislation.
Over the years these conferences have evolved into the must-attend type of events that attract the best and the brightest. These events present unique opportunities for in-person interactions between executives, staff and industry-supporting partners that have allowed industry’s professionals to cultivate meaningful connections.
The value of making time for meaningful and memorable interactions has especially held true as regional centers and EB-5 professionals branch out from what has been described as the traditional or historic markets. Traveling to countries like India and Vietnam to attend networking events is a great example of time well spent considering how those emerging markets have picked up speed.
In addition to the regular conferences and events, smaller forums at these events provide an opportunity to engage agencies and regional professionals with potential investors.
Now, more than ever, there seems to be a genuine desire to learn about investment opportunities in the United States. That is why each year thousands of people gather hoping to build relationships that lead to new projects. Whether it’s meeting with these investors directly or meeting with a migration agency eager to send clients your way, it’s these types of connections that make these events such lucrative networking opportunities.
Over the years, event organizers have used detailed feedback from attendees to curate the ideal event. Many events now include afternoon breakout sessions and after-hours VIP cocktail receptions where attendees meet face to face with people who influence migration policy and are recognized as thought leaders.
Some industry events have even shifted over to strictly offering breakout sessions that follow specific tracks or fall into related categories as part of a larger theme.
If you can’t attend in person, sponsorships and advertising are available and are worthwhile. Sponsoring an event or a portion of an event means your name and logo will receive high visibility.
The EB-5 industry event organizers have set the bar high and will continue to do so as knowledge of investment migration opportunities grow.