How to Choose a Regional Center
Foreign investors are increasingly exploring EB-5 visas which are suitable for qualified foreign investors with high net worth and/or significant annual income. Generally, wealthy retirees and parents who want to secure their children’s future utilize the program to recapture their capital investment and to obtain their green card. To achieve these goals the investor must proceed carefully when selecting the appropriate investment vehicle.
There has recently been exponential growth in the number of approved regional centers throughout the U.S. EB-5 capital is responsible for developing infrastructure, hotels, office buildings, shopping centers, schools, assisted living facilities, hospitals and many other improvements. Paying careful attention to the following evaluation criteria can greatly assist in your selection of the appropriate regional center.
While excellent past performance is no guarantee of certain success, it is certainly a strong indicator. Until USCIS has statistics on the track records of each regional center, request their statistics on I-526 and I-829 approvals.
- What is the capacity of the regional center to expeditiously market and sell its investment units?
- How many investors is it attracting on a monthly basis?
- In which countries is it active and achieving success?
- Be wary of overly ambitious projects if there is no track record of raising funds expeditiously. Too frequently, investors languish in projects where the developer cannot break escrow because the center has been unable to attract sufficient investors.
Your investment is at great risk if the management team is unable to bring the project to fruition. Ensure that the regional center has familiarity with the EB-5 program and fully understands its responsibility to complete the project and create the requisite jobs. Ask these questions:
- What is the general partner’s experience in managing multimillion dollar projects?
- What projects has the partner successfully completed in the past?
Evaluate the job creation methodology. The developer should take a conservative approach in estimating direct and indirect jobs. The primary focus should be on whether the methodology used in these job forecasts is reliable, reasonable and tested.
Regional Center Financial Viability:
The regional center’s success should be tied to the investor and the performance of the asset. If project delivery is on a loan-based model, the project should be sufficiently collateralize and the investor’s interest should not be subordinated to a massive bank loan. Above all, qualified help should be sought to evaluate the investment.
The investors’ success is tied to the extent of their due diligence, the utilization of a qualified immigration lawyer and an experienced regional center. This can be an overall win-win for the regional center, the foreign investors and their families, and, most importantly, struggling economies in high unemployment areas are infused with cash and jobs, stimulating local economies throughout the United States.