Tuesday, March 27, 2012

EB-5 Trading Cards

"Psssst...c'mere: I've got six Taiwanese EB5 investors funded but the original deal went bust. Let's talk...?"

My my, how EB-5 has evolved. Two years ago, I couldn't get anyone overseas to talk to me about finding investors. Today, they're beating down the doors of guys like me. And, no, it's not just because of my brutal Latin good looks. :-P It's because I have something their clients want and they themselves desperately need: fair EB-5 opportunities which will deliver the US green card as well as protect the investor's investment.

Here's how it works: the larger agencies in countries like Taiwan, China, and Korea have a steady pipeline of clients considering various EB-5 investment opportunities. In many of these countries, there are specific banking rules as to how funds can depart the homeland en route to the escrow for the US investment. Once the funding process begins – and it can take 3 to 4 months, depending on the jurisdiction - as Sherlock Holmes said, "the game is afoot."

If there's anything we who deal with private equity and foreign venture capital know, it is this: plans INVARIABLY change. This is the essence and reason behind all of the "material change" regulations and policies which USCIS has implemented in order to address EB-5 investment structures.   In EB-5 deals, as in all venture capital deals, there is a continuing dynamic of evolution and transition which characterizes the very entrepreneurial opportunity behind the investment.  That whole "risk" thing isn't just some pesky inconvenience injected into the EB-5 law by Congress; it is the fundamental of what launches successful entrepreneurship and results in long-term job creation in a true market economy such as the US.  It is NOT the "state-sponsored" immigration opportunity offered by Canada, Australia and other and there are NO guarantees.  But it is the price of a future in the United States of America, and a bargain for those who can afford it.

And so, as the funding process occurs and the months unfold, the investors continue to consider their options. And, in the wake of EB-5 catastrophes like Mamtek and the other recent EB-5 fiascos, prudent immigration agencies are constantly on the lookout for better alternatives for their clients. After all, in the Far East countries, three jilted investors with picket signs can shut down a 20 year agency reputation in the blink of an eye. It's already happened in China and, I believe, it will be happening in other jurisdictions soon.  Just too many short-sighted people in this sector at this time, sad to say.

For smart agents, it's all about keeping your investors' options open until they are funded with the best possible EB-5 option.   Let's face it: as long as the inflated, scary projects continue to be aggressively marketed,  the emails will keep coming to those of us with the legitimate EB-5 offerings...

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