Understanding EB-5 Visa Immigration Regional Centers

Understanding EB-5 Visa Immigration Regional Centers

While many investors interested in living in the U.S. are eager to start a new business, others are concerned that they may not be able to replicate the success they've had back in their home country. In fact, given the current economic climate, even some of those "hands on" entrepreneurs are giving the notion of an upstart business a close re-examination.

EB-5 Regional Center vs. Individual EB-5 Investments

Fortunately, the U.S. government offers an investment-based permanent residency opportunity which takes the traditional investment and job creation requirements of the individual EB-5 Investor Visa and consolidates it into structured, federally-approved "Regional Centers" which essentially offer the same immigration benefits while removing the task of new business creation from the investor.

It works like this: by combining the investment funds of multiple investors, these highly controlled and professionally managed Regional Centers create diversified investment pools which not only stimulate the U.S. economy but also allow for indirect job creation. These investments and indirect jobs are essentially "pro rated" among the investors to meet the requirements and they offer the same permanent residency.

While you'll read about the Regional Centers as "passive" investments, they are anything but "passive." In fact, the job generation activity and regional economic impact tends to be far greater - more "active" - than that possible by any individual investment. The main difference is the existence of a professional team, approved by the federal government, to manage the investor funds and guide the investment to its ultimate purpose: a powerful economic impact on U.S. communities and jobs AND permanent U.S. residency for its investors.

So Why Invest via a Regional Center?

This question will depend upon each unique investor but, basically, the primary reason is to pursue U.S. permanent residency without having to start your own "bricks and mortar" enterprise…by letting professionals handle that aspect of it. Most Regional Centers are in designated high-unemployment or rural zones; that means that you invest $500,000 instead of $1 million…and that is pretty compelling for most.

The Regional Center receives and controls the investment funds and the investor does not have to run the investment enterprise; the Center also takes responsibility for ensuring that the investment there meets the "create 10 jobs" requirement.
The idea, then, is to delegate most of the operational responsibilities of the investment activity to the management team, typically a seasoned group of investment and development professionals

Choosing the right Regional Center is critical. As with any investment, each investor has a different risk tolerance. Some investors are excited, for example, by a Regional Center offering an investment opportunity in cutting edge technology; others are risk-averse and will take a very modest rate of return assured by bonds as opposed to something truly innovative. Whatever your appetite for risk, it is critical to have qualified financial counsel review your options as well as the investment documents, which can be lengthy and complicated.

How can we help you?

Most importantly we can assist the client in determining whether they are a qualified investor. We can also assist you in determining whether to choose a Regional Center or a direct investment. In the event you select a Regional Center option, we can guide you in evaluating various regional centers consistent with your objectives. We can offer you a thorough analysis in the validity of a job creation methodology as well as the past performance of any given Regional Center. Further we will assist the client in presenting to USCIS clearly delineated source of funds material as well as completing the appropriate applications. Throughout the process we will always be available to assist you and answer questions that arise.

1. American Life Incorporated

Successfully doing business in Seattle and the surrounding regions of the state of Washington, American Life, Inc.'s model concentrates on the selection and development/redevelopment of prime commercial real estate. With over $550 million in assets under management, 755 I-526 approvals, and 190 I-829 approvals, American Life has earned its reputation as an EB5 industry leader. Here's what they have to say about their program:

Business Strategy

American Life Inc. offers investors a secure investment in prime real estate. The investment offers superior monthly income and a significant capital gain opportunity. The proven strategy developed over the past decade is to:

  1. Acquire aging properties in older industrial areas near the central business district of selected cities in Washington State (Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma) to benefit from urban infill.
  2. Create a footprint of contiguous or nearby properties which, at a future date, could be sold to or developed for a corporate user as a site for a corporate campus, and which benefit from each other's development or renovation; so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.
  3. Make improvements to allow rental at reasonable rates to commercial tenants, while providing investors with a meaningful income return.
  4. Operate with the lowest possible risk by remaining free of debt, and owning all properties unencumbered by bank loans. (Note: by avoiding mortgage interest costs, American Life Inc. will maximize current income to its investors while patiently awaiting the exit strategy that maximizes investor profits.)

While the Seattle, Tacoma and Everett Regional Centers were selected to develop areas of high unemployment, the region as a whole is well endowed with resources, growing, and prosperous. Simply put, the Pacific Northwest is one of the better investment opportunities in the world.

Regional Overview

With over 20 million people and over US $700 billion in gross regional product, the US Pacific Northwest (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) and Western Canada (Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon) is one of fastest growing regions of North America. International trade, resource extraction, technology, and agriculture underpin the economy. It is one of one of North America's most important gateways to East Asia, the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics and the site of several major infrastructure projects and internationally known businesses. The Seattle metropolitan area, together with Everett to the north and Tacoma to the south, form the commercial hub of this prosperous region.

In economic terms the Pacific Northwest is a relatively new addition to the world scene. Europeans arrived in the later half of the 18th century, most notably with the expeditions of Captain Cook UK, Malaspina - Spanish and Bering - Russian. These expeditions mapped the area and catalogued its natural resources. Captain Vancouver, part of Cook's expedition, highly recommended Puget Sound as a suitable place for European colonization but thought it was too far from population centers. European settlement trickled in soon after, primarily in search of furs. In the first half of the 19th century a steady stream of immigrants from the Eastern part of the US arrived on foot and covered wagons by way of the Oregon Trail. The stream of people increased with the opening of the transcontinental railroad. The arrival of the jet plane further increased this migration from all over the world. Modern transportation made a once remote, yet bountiful, part of the world accessible and, for better or worse, exploitable.

A 400-mile corridor with eight million residents reaches from Eugene, Oregon, through Seattle, Washington to Vancouver, B.C. This region accounts for more than $250 billion in annual economic output and if ranked as a nation-state would be the 10th largest economy in the world. The region's diversified economy includes a range of industries, from resource abstraction to high tech.

2. Florida Overseas Investment Center

As the only Statewide Regional Center in Florida, FOIC's "Mutual Fund" approach to investment means portfolio diversification through investing in Targeted Employment Area's statewide in 14 industries. Here's how they describe their model:

Florida Overseas is the only Regional Center that offers a mutual fund approach which allows investors to own a Portfolio of diverse companies in various industries across the state of Florida.

Professional Investment Management

Investments are managed by a team of experienced successful asset managers who have successfully raised and invested over $1.2 billion.

Government tax credit programs

FLORIDA OVERSEAS has access to other U.S. Government funded financing programs which our team has expertise with. These programs will be used to enhance rates of returns for investors and minimize risk

More Than Great Beaches - Florida Means Business

As the 4th largest state in the U.S.A. Florida has low corporate taxes and only one of seven states with No personal income tax!

Leader in International Trade

International trade flow in Florida has nearly doubled in the last decade, exceeding $130 billion in 2008. Total foreign direct investment in Florida amounts to $39.3 billion, making Florida one of the top states for foreign direct investment and related employment.

Pro-Business Environment

Florida continues to shine as one of the nation's best states for business, ranking No. 1 in the nation for Workforce, among the Top 10 in Technology & Innovation and Access to Capital, and moving up to rank 3rd overall in this year's Chief Executive survey of the best places for jobs and business growth. (Chief Executive, March 2009)

High Growth Industries

Florida tops list of U.S. Emerging Biotechnology Cluster hotspots, one of the world's most promising emerging biotech clusters. (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, May 2009)

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