By EB5 Investors Magazine Staff
Chao “Rachel” Sun serves as the general manager of Cangate Investment, a Jiangsu-based migration agency licensed by the Department of Public Security of the Jiangsu Province in China. Targeting the South China market and serving high net worth individuals for almost 10 years, Cangate has expanded its business from the EB-5 program to a wide range of global investment immigration programs.
With the retrogression roadblock impeding the way of China-born EB-5 investors, more and more of them are adjusting their immigration goals to a more global market. In accordance with the shift, Cangate has established a broad network of immigration services that covers EB-1, Canadian provincial programs, European Golden Visa programs and the immigration program of Australia.
Why did you decide to enter this industry?
Immigration investment is a niche market in the traditional financial and investment industry. It requires the practitioners to be well versed in multiple areas, including legislation, finance, real estate and taxation. One needs to keep pace with the changing international socio-economic status quo and remain open-minded to empower cross-border cooperation. It is for sure a demanding world to work in, but these challenges are also part of its charm that appeal to me.
What is unique about your company compared to other migration agencies?
Cangate has been actively engaged in this industry for almost 10 years. We have witnessed the ups and downs of many immigration destinations as well as the shift of interest among Chinese investors. With an innovative mindset, we closely follow the market trends and adjust the focus of our business accordingly. Meanwhile, we keep forming new strategies and exploiting new schemes to expand our scope of services.
Currently, we concentrate a large portion of our business on EB-1A, an immigration option for foreigners of extraordinary ability. We have achieved great success in this area within the Jiangsu Province and have built positive relationships with major migration agencies throughout the country.
As a veteran consultant working at the frontline of the EB-5 market of China, what is your prospective of the future of EB-5 in China?
I am conservatively optimistic about the future of EB-5 in China. On the one hand, the market of EB-5 service suppliers is growing mature. The business model is stabilizing; partners on both sides of the Pacific are building mutual trust. Regional centers and developers are getting more and more experienced in handling EB-5 issues. This undoubtedly boosts the confidence of Chinese investors.
On the other hand, however, it has almost become a consensus of all stakeholders in the industry that unless a fundamental legislative change is achieved to fight against fraud and resolve the backlog predicament, the Chinese EB-5 market will inevitably see a significant downturn in demand in the very near future. The direct aftermath would be a severe impact on job creation and economic development within the U.S.
What is the scope of your EB-1A business? Which program has a more promising prospect of development in the Chinese market: EB-5 or EB-1?
We are proud of our track record in the EB-1A business and have successfully helped clients with extraordinary talent in a large variety of disciplines realize their American dreams. Our team digs into the professional background of each client and tailors applications with the most convincing evidence to raise the approval rate.
Comparing with EB-5’s relatively high demand on net worth and the lengthening queue of backlog, EB-1A is particularly attractive to Chinese investors thanks to its low expenses and efficiency. With all supporting documentation in place, one will be able to obtain a green card in one year. This is an unparalleled advantage of EB-1A over EB-5. Chinese investors who are trapped in the retrogression quagmire and who do not want to be left in such a situation are in desperate need of an alternative. And EB-1A provides an ideal solution to them.
Moreover, the EB route encompasses more tempting options than just EB-1A. EB-1C, immigration visa for managers and executive transferees, opens the gate to an even larger market. Many potential Chinese EB-5 investors already hold executive positions in multinational companies with extensive experience in investment and business operation. This is an option that fits them perfectly. Based on what we have heard from our clients, agency peers, U.S. investment groups and immigration attorneys, we estimated that the scale for EB-1C in China is three times as much as that of EB-1A.
This is not to say that we will forsake our EB-5 business and desert everything we know about this specific market. EB-5 has been a strong program for a long time and Chinese practitioners have accumulated a tremendous amount of experience and built great partnerships out of it. These valuable assets equip us with the right ammunition to assist our EB-1 clients better.
What is the biggest challenge in the EB-1A market? What are some concerns your clients have about EB-1A?
EB-1A is a very selective program with strict requirements that need to be satisfied. For migration agents, the biggest challenge lies in the customization of immigration strategies which could best couple the achievements of each investor with the EB-1A criteria.
Most of our EB-1A clients have concerns about the effectiveness of the immigration strategy crafted for them, which is completely understandable. After all, the highly individualized nature of EB-1A makes it almost impossible to find a “one size for all” tactic for all applications. The uncertainty of every case incurs clients’ hesitation and anxiety; it also presents new challenges to practitioners like us.
Please explain your business of the Australian investment immigration program. Where do you think this section of the industry is heading?
We concentrate our Australian business on two schemes: 188A and 188C. As a traditional immigration destination with tons of established Asian communities, Australia is an even more appealing new home than the U.S. for some investors. The major obstacle in this market is the limited annual visa quota for Chinese investors and the high threshold of obtaining permanent residency. Similar to EB-5, the demand is always there. What we need is a more flexible supply.
Where do you think the European investment immigration program industry is heading?
The focus of our European business is on Hungarian investment immigration program. It has a low investment threshold and itsfast adjudication process have drawn great attention among the Chinese investors. So far, we have successfully facilitated the application and relocation of four groups of investors, some of whom have already started building local communities.
Despite that language barriers might be a hurdle many Chinese investors have to overcome in terms of immigrating to European countries, we believe that with the variety of programs Europe has to offer, as well as the cultural diversity that amazes global high net worth individuals, this continent will remain a powerful competitor in the global immigration investment stage.
What is the biggest issue practitioners in the global immigration investment industry have to tackle?
Stakeholders in this industry ought to work together to promote the stability of the industry, a better control over risks and stricter regulations over fraud.
What is the greatest challenge facing the Chinese migration agents?
Acing in an industry subject to the ever-changing global political and diplomatic dynamics calls for career-long learning and the sensitivity to the market volatility. With so many players actively participating in the migration consultation market and more trying to get in, migration agencies have to hone their professional skills in order to have a finger in the pie.