Folks, as the USCIS continues to sit on thousands of long-delayed I-526 EB-5 investor petitions, a Chinese riptide of exasperated investors and agents is threatening the foundations of dozens of U.S. projects relying on EB-5 capital as part of their capital stack. As this is happening, more and more investors are looking at the individual EB-5 investment, based on faster adjudication times, the elimination of econometric analysis (which is triggering more than 50% of the RFE substance we are seeing these days), and simplicity of direct employment.
Senator Bill Nelson of Florida is working very hard to get USCIS' I-526 adjudication in gear as these delays are costing Florida companies millions of dollars and thousands of unrealized America jobs -- the raison d'etre of EB-5 - continue to be delayed. In the meantime, China agents are getting nervous and pulling investors by the dozens (or, in one case, hundreds), sending legitimate U.S. EB-5 developers toppling over USCIS' unfulfilled promises of timely I-526 adjudications. It is the saddest thing I've seen in immigration since the mean-spirited defeat of the DREAM Act.
Enterprising folks are coming up with all kind of "new innovations" in EB-5 structuring; most of it is neither new, nor innovative. We've been doing pooled EB-5 individual investment structures for about 20 years now; there are ways to do it which work, ways to do it which will NOT work, and from what I've read, these newbies are making assumptions that will prove incorrect when it comes to USCIS adjudication time.
Remember this: the entire world is talking about EB-5, but the vast majority of direct foreign investment in the U.S. has no immigration objectives. To put it simply, before you park your money in a five year loan paying .000002% interest and assume that the developer will be able to repay your $500K simply because he is promising you a date of repayment, it's time for a reality check. I propose that it IS possible to make an intelligent direct investment in the U.S. and secure your individual EB-5...but if and only if the investment makes business sense.
Fortunately for me, Jud and George don't read my blog or they'd be over hear throwing staplers at me, accusing me of steering investors away from our Lake Point Capital Partners EB-5 Regional Center project which I sincerely (and NOT objectively) believe to be the single most sensible EB-5 Regional Center opportunity on the market. I'm not doing so and I think Lake Point makes sense for SOME investors but not for those who are reluctant with RC structures in general, and who DO want to work and run their own business in the US.
For those folks, beware of newfangled EB-5 hybrids because guess what? USCIS has never heard of them or adjudicated them. Right now Private Placement Partners -- the foreign direct investment/ private equity company I co-own with Bianca Saltz -- has an interesting assortment of proven, profitable small business ranging from a very cool Miami art gallery to a national commercial laundry operation to a leading South Florida sushi business ready to expand. Each of these are vetted, proven and profitable and, most importantly to my readers, each of these CAN be structured as a direct EB-5 visa for those clients interested in U.S. residency.
Do your homework, folks, it's the Wild West out there in EB-5 Land these days. USCIS will get it together and "unstick" the stuck Regional Center investors and given the extraordinary success of the EB-5 program; I am confident of a continued mandate to invite foreign direct investment in the U.S. In the meantime, turn the clock back 21 years to consider what we've been quietly doing before the concept of "Regional Center" even existed, and ponder this remarkable question:
What if a sensible, at-risk, business investment could actually BOTH make business sense AND get your family U.S. permanent residence?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details regarding individual EB-5 opportunities in the U.S.
[NOTE: this is a generic plug for individual EB-5 as an immigration vehicle, not a plug for any particular investment. The audience for this article is intended to be the many agents, attorneys, and advisors throughout the world who are struggling with the delayed adjudication issues associated with Regional Center EB-5 I-526 petitions who call or write to ask me what the %&@# is taking USCIS so long. Each of the EB-5 opportunities mentioned, including Regional Center EB-5s and individual investment projects suitable for EB-5 are at risk investments and each has its own detailed offering documentation which can only be made available to investors accredited under U.S. and state securities laws. Neither LatourLaw (a private client law firm) nor Private Placement Partners, LLC (a consulting firm offering concierge services to private foreign clients with US interests) are in the business of offering investment advice; we're just here to warn you about those who purport to be qualified to do so but really aren't.]