How can my business become an EB-5 Regional Center?
My business currently works developing nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The EB-5 program looks to be a good way to get funds and investors for these kinds of projects. Would it be best to present my proposal to an existing regional center and collaborate with them or can I make my business a regional center? What is needed to become a regional center, is it ok if it''s only a 1 year old business? Is all the hassle worth the RC authorization?
This depends on the size of your business. If it's a small business, it may not be cost effective to establish your own regional center. The cost to set up a regional center can range anywhere from $100,000-150,000 and the adjudication process can be lengthy. It would be quicker and may be less expensive to team up with an established regional center.
There are a few alternatives available when considering the use of EB-5 investment to fund a project. Establishing a regional center is one option. Acquiring an existing regional center is one as well, but that would be a change that even with the new policy memo would require an amendment, and amendments can take as long or longer than regional center designation. Another option is to partner with a regional center that works with outside projects. The specifics of each option should be discussed and analyzed with immigration counsel, if you decide to work with an existing regional center it can be very helpful to have an experienced team helping you negotiate the terms of the relationship. We assist our clients in developing the strategies, vetting potential centers and conducting negotiations.
Either way is ok. You are right in that application for USCIS designation is very long, costly and complicated. If you have a small business, it probably does not make sense to become a Regional Center.
Your best bet will be to join an existing RC in your area. Currently, USCIS is taking over a year to adjudicate new RC applications. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Whether or not to apply for your own regional center designation, to use an existing regional center or to go with a basic, direct investment approach will depend upon many factors. You should discuss these with an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney so that you can decide what is best for you. For example, if your facilities will create enough new jobs so that each EB-5 investor can be credited with 10 of those new jobs (or saving 10 jobs if the business is a troubled business), then you don''t need a regional center at all; you simply would rely upon direct job creation. Or if you do need to rely on indirect job creation, but you are doing only one or two facilities in only one or two counties that are covered by an existing regional center, you may wish to negotiate with that regional center. Finally, if you are willing to wait at least a year and you plan on doing multiple projects in different industries, then applying for your own regional center designation might be right for you. It does not matter if your business is only a year old.
The EB-5 program is an excellent way to obtain funds for a private investment such as the ones you mentioned. You would have to find an attorney who prepares EB-5 program regional centers or projects. There are only a few attorneys in the country who would be able to assist you. They perform their work as a team with attorneys specialized in other areas such as securities or real estate law and economists. We are specialized in type of legal practice and are available to assist.
I don''t think it is worth the hassle as nursing homes and assisted living facilities should be able to hire enough workers to meet the job requirement. Even if you are a Regional Center, the burden is on you (or hire an agent) to find the investors.
There are more than 250 regional centers today. It might be best to negotiate a hosting arrangement with an existing regional center that covers the locations and industry you are interested in. Once the regional center agrees to host your project, you should expect to pay a fee to the regional center for the privilege.
You can do either (i.e., borrow a Regional Center or file to have your own Regional Center designation). It would depend on what your timeline is and progression of the project development and needs. However, before you even go looking for Regional Center options, you should assess whether it is even necessary to go the Regional Center route (i.e., difficult to meet the 10 full time job requirement per $500K or $1Million investor, etc). It may be that you can develop your project using EB-5 investment funds without having to go through the Regional Center route and just as a direct/individual investment in the business/organization. This may save you some time and expense.
Because you currently own a nursing home business, it does not qualify for a commercial enterprise that allows EB-5 investors to invest through the traditional standard EB-5 program, unless you develop new projects that qualify under Title 8 Code of Federal Regulations Section 204.6(h). Depending on the size of your project, to establish a new regional center on your own may not be cost effective if it is a small project because it costs you about $100,000-150,000 to set up and about one to two years to get USCIS approval. Even after the approval, there are more than 200 approved regional centers in the U.S.; competition is extremely fierce. It is very difficult to recruit investors now. I don''t know which existing centers that you are thinking about, but you have to find the appropriate regional centers that have been approved for the industry codes, such as health services, etc. Not all existing regional centers can collaborate with your project.
You can apply to have your business certified. You will need the following: (1) Identification of geographical area, (2) Economic analysis explaining how 10 full-time jobs will be created, (3) Business plan, (4) Identification of the form of the EB-5 investment, (5) Statement from the principal of the RC explaining methodologies that the RC will use to track the infusion of each EB-5 investor''s capital and to allocate jobs created, (6) Description of promotional activities, (7) Plan of operations which addresses how investors will be recruited and due diligence conducted, (8) Impact study, (9) Organizational structure and (10) Capital investment offering instruments, business structure documents and operating agreements. If I can be of further help, let me know.
Our Law Firm has experience and expertise in preparing EB-5 compliant projects in respect to assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Depending on your timeline to start an EB-5 project, it will determine whether you want to associate with an existing regional center or alternatively set up your own. In fact, this past week the new EB-5 policy memorandum gives more opportunities to EB-5 projects to expand their operations into new geographical locations. Your choices will need to be analyzed and reviewed by an experienced EB-5 attorney.
A number of folks have already used EB-5 funds for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. To work with a regional center, you could do some research to find the ones in your area and reach out to them. Before an agreement with them is finalized, you may want to consult both a corporate attorney (who can help you negotiate and review the contract) and an immigration attorney (who might be able to help you with immigration issues). If you are starting your own regional centers, then just reach out to a qualified attorney who handles regional centers. The key here is to vet professionals carefully because there are very few attorneys that have deep regional center experience though there seem to be thousands of service providers claiming to be "experts" online. Someone qualified can also give you the pros/cons of using a preexisting regional center verses starting your own.
The simple answer is you must apply to USCIS to do so. This takes a considerable amount of work. Of course, the program must comply with all the rules and needs to be competitive with the other centers or you will not be able to find investors.