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EB5 INVESTORS MAGAZINE

Top 25 Attorneys 2018: Top 5 Rising Stars

By EB5 Investors Magazine Staff

EB5 Investors Magazine is pleased to announce the Top 5 Rising Stars in the EB-5 industry. To be eligible, distinguished attorneys are increasing their footprint in the EB-5 industry.

For more information or to contact any of these professionals, we invite you to view their listings at www.EB5Investors.com/directories.

VISHAL K. CHHABRIA

CHHABRIA LAW LLC | ATTORNEY

Vishal K. Chhabria focuses on immigration and business law. In immigration, Chhabria specializes in investment migration. With offices in Chicago, Dubai , Mumbai and Ahmedabad (India), Chhabria travels often to grow and strengthen relationships with clients and industry professionals. Having well trained, customer-focused legal assistants in three countries, he is able to quickly follow up and advise clients, building meaningful relationships with immigrant investors, EB-5 developers and clients from a wide spectrum of immigration and business law matters. With an energetic and modern approach, Chhabria is proud to embrace technology and best practices to provide clients with a seamless and worry-free legal experience.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? 

Over the past two to three years, there has been a major shift in EB-5 interest stemming from South Asia, primarily India. Whereas five years ago EB-5 industry professionals would have to work extra hard to simply inform and educate potential EB-5 developers and investors alike, today every leading daily in India, for example, carries EB-5 advertisements and EB-5 articles related to everything from continuing resolutions in the U.S. Congress to EB-5 investor statistics, and even costs associated with I-526 submissions. The EB-5 marketplace has matured greatly in advanced markets such as the UAE, and potential investors have innumerable options.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

During my first two years in the EB-5 industry, I focused on developer representation. Working with regional centers on compliance matters, building approvable projects, drafting offering documents, and closely working with business plan writers and economists, I developed a strong sense of how developers in particular industries such as I.T. and hospitality must structure their projects to meet EB-5 standards. When representing individual investor clients now, I am able to leverage existing developer-client relationships to offer the best possible client-centric I-526 package, with terms and conditions built for today's EB-5 investor.

KRISTI QUYNH NGO

SKT LAW | IMMIGRATION PRACTICE GROUP ATTORNEY, MANAGER

Kristi Quynh Ngo manages the immigration practice group of SKT Law, a full-service law firm with offices in California, Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong. She specializes in EB-5 investments, various employment-based visa categories, and family-based immigration matters. Ngo represents foreign investors in obtaining U.S. permanent residency through regional center and direct EB-5 investment. She also advises businesses on regional center formation and ensures project compliance with EB-5 regulations. Ngo earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine and her Juris Doctor from Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law. She is fluent in Vietnamese. 

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? 

There is an increase in interest in major EB-5 markets, such as Vietnam, India and Brazil, because investors are concerned about their country’s current or anticipated visa retrogression.  Many investors wish to avoid being at the end of a long, practically immobile line, like we see with China. However, the uncertainty surrounding the EB-5 program, resulting from Congress’ short-term spending bills, continue to deter many investors. We are at a critical point in EB-5, as regulation changes to minimum investment amounts and qualifications for TEA designation are imminent and clarity on issues like redeployment are seriously needed.   

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

My family immigrated from Vietnam as refugees when I was a toddler, so I have personally witnessed the struggles immigrant parents endure to provide better futures for their children.  Immigration practice felt like a natural fit when I initially entered the legal field. My involvement in EB-5 came more by chance, but I find this practice enlightening and fulfilling. The drive to support their families resonates strongly among investors, and I get to participate in a program that serves to stimulate the U.S. economy. 

SONIA OLIVERI 

KELLEY KRONENBERG | PARTNER 

Sonia Oliveri is a Partner with Kelley Kronenberg, one of the largest firms in South Florida where she leads the firm’s EB-5 practice group focusing on corporate clients’ business immigration and international business needs. Oliveri assists investors on complex immigration matters, with an emphasis on the EB-5 program and the E-2 Treaty Investor Program. Oliveri holds two law degrees, Italy-U.S.and is licensed to practice law in the state of Florida and in the District of Columbia. Oliveri is fluent in six languages: Italian, English, Farsi, Spanish, Portuguese and French. She is an active member of AILA. 

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? 

We have been noticing an increase in media exposure portraying the EB-5 program in its negative aspects. Although it is true that there have been episodes of fraud in the industry, the majority of players in this field are very professional groups with impressive track records. The EB-5 program is a magnificent tool that promotes U.S. job creation, project construction and injection of vetted foreign capital. Very few and isolated cases of fraud/bad actors should not be taken as a reflection of the entire industry.  Another issue is represented by the continuous deadlines with short re-authorizations of the program. 

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

Pure coincidence. My fluency in six languages, coupled with my multicultural and corporate background, lead me to work with distinguished EB-5 specialists. The reason for remaining in the EB-5 field is definitely not a coincidence. I strongly believe in EB-5 being a win-win program.  Representing international clientele and investors from Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Dubai and India in achieving their dreams is a privilege. Moreover, being an immigrant myself, I can perfectly relate with my clients. My cultural experience, coupled with my global international background, allows me to work with international clientele on matters that require a specific cultural sensitivity. 

RAKESH PATEL 

THE PATEL LAW GROUP, PLLC | MANAGING PARTNER 

Rakesh Patel is an accomplished attorney within the EB-5 world. He obtained his law degree and international master’s in business administration from the University of Denver. After graduating, he opened his own practice in 2006. For the past five years, he has been assisting investors throughout the world with all their EB-5 immigration needs. He has worked with direct and regional center projects covering 62 metropolitan areas and across 21 states. His clients can attest that his professionalism and experience truly set him apart from other attorneys in the field.  

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? 

Over the past few years, investments from places all over the world has become more prevalent. As education of the EB-5 program has spread, so has the interest. I see more investments coming from places like India, as families are seeing their children coming to the U.S. for an education. In addition, we are seeing developers becoming more creative in their investment offerings in order to fulfill the ever-changing needs of the sophisticated investors.     

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

My background in business and immigration law gave me an affinity to the EB-5 industry. As an immigrant and a business owner, I was raised with the unique experiences that many of the EB-5 investors have. As a result, I can understand my clients and their business needs, and with my expertise in immigration, working in the EB-5 industry was a natural fit. It is an honor to help fellow immigrants achieve the American dream just as my parents helped me achieve mine. 

SALVATORE PICATAGGIO 

AMERICAN IMMIGRATION ASSOCIATES/VISALEX | SENIOR ASSOCIATE MANAGER 

Salvatore Picataggio has practiced immigration law since 2011 and joined American Immigration Associates/VisaLex in 2018. He represents investors, business owners and entrepreneurs, and has worked within the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program since the very beginning of his practice. He is the Top Contributor to the EB5Investors.com Q&A section, answering more than 1,700 questions. Picataggio is a member of AILA (Central Florida chapter), Orange County (Florida) Bar Association Immigration Committee, Orlando Regional Realtor Association (Affiliate and Global Real Estate Council), and the British-American Chamber of Commerce. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. 

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? 

I am seeing an increased sophistication and maturing of both projects and investors. Investors are taking their investments very seriously, and developers are recognizing this, resulting in increasingly stronger and more diverse offerings for investors, especially with redeployment, bridge financing, and other structures that can benefit both parties. Investors themselves are appreciating and expecting more tools for working with their professionals and projects, valuing not just experience, but service and technology. I also notice and appreciate how EB-5 professionals, projects and investors are being proactive in the shadow of regulatory changes.  

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

Frankly, by accident! I did not expect to be practicing EB-5 or even immigration at all coming out of law school, but I was able to find a job (the recession sent way more people to law school than there were jobs) with a firm who spent many years practicing in the EB-5 space. My very first assignment was an I-924 amendment! Even though I did not plan for it, I am happy I found a place in EB-5 and business immigration, where I am able to contribute to both the growth of the U.S. economy and help foreign families achieve their dreams. 

 

EB5Investors.com Staff

EB5Investors.com Staff

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