Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lake Point EB-5 Sees 1st Six Month I-526 Approval!

Congratulations to our newest Lake Point Capital Partners EB-5 investor from Vietnam, whose I-526 was approved by USCIS in a blazing six months (no RFE, of course.)  USCIS EB-5 team: you rock and we are very grateful for your efforts, aware as we are of the extraordinary workload pressures you continue to face.

Late last summer, when our first I-526 petition was finally approved after languishing at USCIS for over 18 months, "jubilation" hardly begins to express what we felt here at Team Lake Point.  I can only imagine what those first approvals felt like for our pioneer Limited Partners, who patiently watched 8 months turn to 12 turn to 18...talk about blind faith!  These days, it seems a new Lake Point EB-5 approval arrives almost weekly, but it never gets old nor is the joy diminished.  As we approach the end of the offering, Lake Point's comparatively small $20 million/ 40 EB-5 investor project has proven itself as "the little engine that could".   No ad budgets, no direct marketing, no solicitation...just many thousands of miles of travel and many hours earning the trust of professional advisors worldwide whose clients were carefully considering a future in America.  (I know this may not be the most efficient way to find EB-5 investors, but being SEC-compliant makes for a better night's sleep!)

As we wind things up with the last EB-5 investors in Lake Point Capital Partners, the diverse nationalities of our EB-5 Limited Partners are reflective of the international appeal of our first EB-5 venture.  Lake Point's approved investors so far hail predominantly from Vietnam (where we may be -- we're not certain -- the top-selling EB-5 offering with the most approved I-526s),  but the rest hail from diverse parts ranging from Eastern Europe to Latin America to the Middle East.   Perhaps more interesting than the diverse nationalities is the fact that our investors are coming to us entirely via face-to-face meetings, long dialogues, and extensive due diligence on their part.  We've all heard the stories: dozens of EB-5 investors, checks in hand, systematically herded into a room to sign up for an EB-5 offering cherry-picked by a migration agent NOT for its viability but, rather, for its commission schedule.  I am happy to say that Lake Point's EB-5 Limited Partners are cut from a very different mold, and they come to us with a healthy skepticism born through decades of hard work and tenacity in their respective fields...folks who don't need someone else to tell them where to invest.  Perhaps the stories behind the success of Lake Point's General Partners and our distinction of being the only Forbes 400 owned and operated EB-5 Regional Center best explains why, so far, ALL of our investors have extraordinary stories of hard work behind their success...no trust-fund babies so far at Lake Point...although we'd certainly welcome properly qualified ones! (-:)

In any event, today's I-526 approval sets a new threshold for speedy I-526 adjudication and is a welcome send-off as I depart for a much needed vacation.  But I'll be back in the saddle in about a week, and in March Jud and I head back to beautiful Saigon for what will hopefully be our final round of meetings for Lake Point Capital Partners EB-5.  In the meantime, if you have a qualified client still mulling over their EB-5 options, give Bianca Saltz a call at 786-866-9775 to learn more about Lake Point EB-5.

The Year of the Horse is off with a gallup!  Tally Ho!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Canada Kills Immigrant Investor Program, Refunding Pending Cases

It looks like the U.S. EB-5 Program is getting an unintentional boost from our neighbors to the North: Canada has just announced that it is ending its Investor Visa program, which has been extremely popular in China and proved an insurmountable adversary to the more encumbered, complex EB-5 investor visa offered by the United States.  Calling the program a failure, Canada announced the closure of the program without much fanfare, stating as follows:
"To eliminate the existing backlog, which is diverting resources away from better performing economic immigration streams, the Government intends to return applications and refund associated fees paid by certain federal Immigrant Investor Program and Entrepreneur Program applicants..."
According to our Asia teams, this will represent a flood of refunds in mainland China and other East Asian nations.   Canada's immigrant investor program, along with that of Australia, have both been far more popular than the U.S. EB-5 program at an international level for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the U.S. program requires an "at risk" investment while the others assure that if a person invests, they WILL get residency, irrespective of any business success metrics.  But there are other reasons which suggest this latest decision on Canada's part will push more investors towards the U.S. and EB-5: recent media coverage in both Australia and Canada have focused on an increasing distaste for migration, particularly from China.  While the issue certainly does not smack of the violent xenophobia witnessed in recent years in Europe (esp. Germany and Greece), it is clear that both Australia and Canada have put away the welcome mat for foreign investors.

How will this impact U.S. EB-5?  Hard to say, but given the continued flagrant violation of U.S. securities regulations by most Chinese migration agents and by many U.S. project promoters, EB-5 is hardly treated with trust in China.  I expect that those projects with a legacy of integrity, whether large or small, will continue to draw investors from China at a strong rate.  But the big winners could the passport programs from St. Kitts or the very popular Portuguese and Greek residency programs currently in the market.

If you were planning on Canadian direct investment or will be affected by the closure of the program, write me and I'll be happy to chat with you and help you find the best option for your particular situation.  While we continue to market the final stage of the Lake Point EB-5 project, I will never recommend anything which is not in a client's best interest and the fact remains that for very high net worth individuals, U.S. residency is NOT the best option. 

Here is the full article on Canada's decision to end their immigrant investor program:
Canada Ends Investor Visa Program