How do I choose one regional center from others? Are there any specific criteria or conditions I need to look at or pay attention to? Thanks
You should identify a regional center with a healthy history of successful projects and immigration petitions. You should also look for information regarding the amount of investors in the project, capacity of the project and the future forecast of such project.
It is good to see that you are concerned about the quality of a regional center (RC). Conducting due diligence on a RC and its principals is very important prior to making an investment. Equally important, if not more critical is having the project you plan to invest in reviewed from a variety of perspectives (immigration, corporate industry, etc). The USCIS has reminded us that there will be no deference provided to a regional center''s past projects. Knowledge of the EB-5 program and a history of working in the EB-5 arena is considered an important quality to look for in a regional center. While it is true that past performance is not an indicator of future success, a track record of I-829 approvals and the actual funds being returned to investors is the gold standard. Because the program has only recently expanded, not many RCs will have a track record, but don''t rule them out solely for that reason. However, where RCs have had I-829 approvals, I suggest inquiring about the % of their investors receiving a return of their principle, and the timeline associated with the return. Don''t be shy, it''s your money. A RC with a strong infrastructure, adequate staffing, experienced legal counsel and a transparent business model is something to consider. An RC with sufficient funding and experience to oversee their projects and manage the investors is a good quality to look for as is ensuring the RC will be around in the future. Stability and long term commitment are important qualities; ensure the center and project developers are not just dabbling in the EB-5 arena. The bottom line is after reviewing the equities of the project itself, experienced project managers and a qualified regional center team of professionals is likely the most important quality to look for in an RC. The best money an EB-5 investor can spend is on the due diligence phase of a selecting a project. Feel free to contact the Sheppard Mullin team to assist with this review.
This is an investment and each Regional Center offers its own risks and rewards which must be carefully evaluated. We shall be glad to discuss in detail.
This is a loaded question, the qualities that you look for are based on your personal preferences, as such, conducting a thorough due diligence is key.
It depends upon what you are looking for. Most regional centers are newer and do not have approved I-526 petitions or I-829 petitions. Only a few have I-829 approvals. It might be a good idea to start looking at regional centers with solid track records and a good reputation in the EB-5 marketplace. That does not mean that a good regional center will always have good projects available, or that a newer regional center might not have a great project. You just need to do your due diligence in checking up on all aspects of the regional center, the developer, the project, etc. There are professionals out that that can do the work for you and you might consider retaining them. Also, it is a good idea to have an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney representing you and advising you on the immigration law and regulatory requirements from the beginning of the process.
You should consult with a financial analyst as selecting a project is just like selecting a regular investment option, immigration visa qualification is just a part of the formula in selecting where to put your investment. From the immigration perspective, you would want to know how many successful projects with approved I-526s and I-829s has the Regional Center had to date? Were there any denials and if yes, for what cause? Does a Regional Center have a project currently accepting investors and if that project already approved by USCIS, etc.
You have to decide what your primary goals are: high rate of return, immigration track record of prior approvals, proximity to where you will be living, management, type of project, rate of return, exit strategy, do you understand the project, etc.
The best regional centers are transparent. If a regional center will not be open and share lots of information with you about its structure and EB-5 investment projects, do not deal with it.
The qualities you should look for in a regional center are the same as any investment vehicle you would consider investing your money. Some of the issues you should consider are as follows: (1) Are they investing/building a project that is supported by the local market demand? If they are building another resort or hotel when other hotels in the same area are having hard time filling enough rooms, then the market is too saturated to make sense to build; (2) Are the revenue and expense projections realistic?; (3) What is the collateral of the project and what is the commercial viability of the project? ? Is the project only being funded by EB-5 investors or does it have other commercial lenders? (4) What kind of government participation is in the project not just endorsement? Any loan guarantees by the government? (5) Prior successes: how many EB-5 projects have they completed successfully? How many I-526 and I-829 approvals and how many denials?; (6) Do the people running the regional center have the experience and integrity? This is more of a subjective test, but if a twenty or thirty something person is claiming to have 14 years experience as it was in the infamous Chicago Convention Center project case that is being tried for fraud, then one must ask oneself, does that make sense?; (7) Does the jobs report numbers really support reality and the number of investors the regional center is trying gather? If the regional center is developing a movie theater and a restaurant in NY, for example, while trying to gather 500 EB-5 investors, will that project really spur such growth to create 5000+ jobs?; (8) What is the exit strategy for you to get the money back after you receive I-829 approved? - If the regional center is saying that you could sell your interestment when everything is done, then the follow-up question should be how many prior EB-5 investors have received their funds back and how much?
There are many factors. I would suggest looking at: what experience the principals have in EB5 or immigration, who are their experts and advisers, what projects have they done, do they have an adequate staff to run an RC, and who is the developer of the project to name a few items.
I have heard this question a number of times and it is a fair one to ask. Some sample questions include: a) What is the current regional center''s standing, i.e. has it been terminated by USCIS or is it subject to any outstanding issues with USCIS (fairly basic issue at the outset)?; b) Has it had any investor applications denied or pending an RFE (request for further evidence) or a NOID (notice of intent to deny)?; c) Has it made any material changes that would require an amendment with USCIS since it was first designated?; d) How many projects has it worked on?; e) How many investors have successfully been approved and are pending (or have successfully completed) I-829 applications?; f) How big is its staffing group?; g) How does it track and manage job creation? The list certainly goes on. I highly recommend that you seek an immigration attorney''s assistance on this issue.
The investors should do their own due diligence in the selection of a regional center project. You should look to the track records of the regional center as well as the merit of the current project. Track records indicate the experience of the specific regional center and the project is directly related with your investment.
There are a great deal of factors which go into selecting the Regional Center you will invest with. Primarily, you should look at their track record and how many approved initial petitions (I-526), but also, how many final removal of conditions there are (I-829). You should also evaluate how many current pending EB-5 investors there are, and the capacity of the project, the alternative funding and how close the individual projects are to completion. There are many more factors, but the ones mentioned are the basic factors.
A healthy history of successful projects and successful approvals of I-526 Petitions and I-829 Petitions is a good sign that you have a quality Regional Center. You should definitely ask for references from the Regional Center for successful petition filings and project development, and ask a lot of questions until you are satisfied with the structure, management and its history.
There are three things most folks want from a Regional Center. 1. A 10 year Green Card (what is the approval rate on their I-829. This is NOT a guarantee, but a good guide) 2. Some Return on the Investment 3. Return of the initial funds at a time certain. Look for this information when investigating a regional center.
Here is a start for you: Our Top 25 list (not in any particular order): (1) What is the contingent event that will trigger return of investment capital? (2) Where do investors stand in the project capital stack in relation to other project investors and creditors with regard to return on investment and return on capital? (3) Who are the EB-5 Project Manager’s economist, immigration attorney, and securities attorney how much experience do the experts have with the EB-5 program, what is their reputation and history of risk-tolerance? (4) How many project-based RFEs on I-526s during the past three years, and how many of the RFE cases resulted in investor'' obtaining their green cards? (5) Does the Regional Center or EB-5 Project Manager provide regular reports to investors showing the progress of the project and the fulfillment of job-creation goals? At what intervals? (6) How many I-526 petitions resulted in approvals? How many denials (even if later appealed and overturned)? (7) Where any I-526 petitions withdrawn in anticipation of a denial? (8) How many I-829 petitions resulted in approvals/withdrawals/denials (even if later appealed and overturned) to date? (9) Were any I-829 petitions withdrawn in anticipation of a denial? (10) Does the EB-5 project have non-immigrant investors who are investing in the project strictly for financial reasons? If so, who are these investors and how risk- tolerant or averse are they? (11) How much money has the EB-5 Project Manager returned to investors to date? (12) Do the RC principals or project general partners have any history of financial misconduct or a history of criminal convictions? (13) Does the Center pay success-based referral fees to unlicensed brokers or finders operating in he U.S.? If so, how does the Center or EB-5 Project Manager’s securities attorney defend this practice? (14) How closely does the EB-5 Project Manager consult with its attorneys and other experts during project development? (15) Do jobs creation projections indicate a surplus or buffer of "extra jobs" such that, even if all the milestones in the economist’s report are not met, sufficient jobs will be created for all immigrant investors? (16) How will the EB-5 Project Manager allocate jobs in the event of a shortfall at the I-829 stage? How might additional jobs be created? (17) Is any government entity pre-screening investments offered through the Regional Center? (18) Does the project have federal, municipal or state government support in terms of grants, loans or tax credits? (19) Does the TEA designation rely on the use of contiguous census tracts that appear to have been selected to artificially lower the average unemployment for the targeted employment area? (20) Does the Does EB-5 project have non-immigrant investors who are investing in the project strictly for financial reasons? If so, who are these investors and how risk- tolerant or averse are they? (21) Does the EB-5 Project Manager’s past history and the structure of the current project tend to indicate that the project might deviate from the plan as stated in the I-526 petitions such that the USCIS might decide that the project has undergone a “material change” at the I-829 stage? (22) Has any EB-5 Project Manager lost money or been in default? (23) Have EB-5 investors lost money in previous projects managed by the same EB-5 Project Manager? (24) How many years of experience does the EB-5 Project Management Team and developer have in working with EB-5 immigrant investor programs? (25) Will the project rely on bridge financing until EB-5 funds replace the bridge loan?
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