Tuesday, May 25, 2010

EB5 Investing: the Devil is in the Details

One of the greatest challenges in helping prospective
foreign investors understand the EB-5 regional center investment opportunity
centers around the linguistic issues associated with translating what is
invariably some highly complex language. 
Let's face it: this is some complicated stuff.  When I sit down with a fellow AILA member to
discuss their potentially interested EB 5 investor, it typically takes me about
two hours to take the attorney from a rudimentary understanding of the regional
center EB-5 process to a meaningful grasp of its finer details.  You can understand why my having to explain
this to a non-attorney in a language other than English is perhaps the most
difficult part of my job.

The EB-5 regional center with which I work is, I believe,
the most transparent and prudent EB5 immigrant investor opportunity out
there.  They've spent a great deal of
time and money to prepare documentation in various languages so that they can
convey the details of the program to prospective investors overseas who do not
speak English.  Still, despite their best
efforts at selecting qualified translators, the intricacies associated with
both the investment and immigration aspects of the EB-5 are such that even
fairly accurate translations tend to miss the subtleties and nuances which, in
and of themselves, provide the "big picture" needed before a rational
person is willing to plunk down a half million dollars.  (It is notable that in the Far East,
particularly China, this issue is substantially tempered; perhaps for cultural
reasons -- certainly not because the Chinese investor is any less concerned
about his or her investment than an investor of another nationality -- or perhaps
due to a pragmatic understanding of the value of a clear path to US permanent
residency, the Chinese EB-5 investors tend to commit more rapidly to a
particular regional center, most often without an in depth understanding of the
particular investment program to which they are committing.).

But here's the problem:
every single regional center out there
has been APPROVED by the US
government... otherwise they would not be legally able to market to prospective
investors!  The product of a consumer
society, where, historically, he who markets best wins the most, the reality is
that there are some pretty lousy regional centers out there with some rather
impressive marketing materials.  And
that, my friends, really concerns me.

I've written many times in the past about how those of us
who are immigration practitioners are hardly qualified to recommend an EB-5 program
based upon its merits as an investment; sadly, that which we ARE qualified to
recommend and opine upon -- the long-term immigration feasibility of a
particular EB-5 regional center -- requires a tremendous amount of time and
effort by those of us who present these opportunities to foreign clients.

 My impression is that
most immigration practitioners not only fail to provide that level of required
detail to their prospects, but, far more tragically, they simply are not
interested enough to learn the details themselves.

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