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An Introduction to U.S. Immigration

The U.S. immigration system is essentially divided into three categories for those seeking permanent residency:

  1. Close Family Ties: such as spouses, parents, brothers and sisters or adult children
  2. Education: those with at least a bachelor’s degree and preferably a master’s degree or those with no less than 12 years of work experience
  3. Money: those with no less than $500,000 or $1 million to invest in a qualified regional center in the United

States or their own enterprise

Realistically, those with family ties will seek to apply for residency through this process if such ties are of a close degree, the waiting period is not long and the petitioner, or sponsor, has the financial ability to endorse such an application.

Those with a higher education, referred to as ‘skilled or professional workers,’ will need to identify a U.S. sponsor willing to hire them for a specific job, at a specific salary, with a specific job description. Often times this poses a serious challenge for any foreign national as U.S. employers generally seek to hire employees from within the U.S. Furthermore, the employer must demonstrate that it is financially solvent during the entire process time period in order to ensure that the employee will continue to be gainfully employed at the end of the process.

Consequently, we are left with the “money” alternative. The EB-5 program was created as a job creation and foreign investment program specifically to encourage high net worth individuals to migrate to the U.S., stimulate the U.S. economy and make a valuable contribution to society.

The EB-5 Program: A Triple Win

Job Creation • Capital Infusion • Immigration through Investment

In 1990, Congress mandated the EB-5 visa program to create jobs for Americans while stimulating foreign capital investment. Subsequently, a pilot program creating the regional center concept was passed into law. There are significant benefits of the EB-5 regional center pilot program which include:

  • Creation of U.S. jobs
  • A significant source investment capital for developers
  • A path to permanent residency for foreign investor
  • A unique investment opportunity for foreign investors

The future of the EB-5 program is very promising. An increasing number of people are aware of its existence, and its benefits.

The number of investors engaged in the program with responsible and viable regional centers is continuing to grow as they view the program as a fast track to U.S. residency wrapped in a valuable investment.

More politicians and economic development officers understand the nuances of the program that has now created thousands of jobs and generated billions of dollars into the U.S. economy. The EB-5 program is a win/win platform for the U.S. economy, U.S. sponsors and foreign investors.

EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 visa category was created as a means of stimulating job creation through foreign capital investment. EB-5 visa requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • Investment of one million dollars, or investment of $500,000 in an area designated as a targeted employment area (TEA).
  • Creation of full-time employment for at least 10 individuals (see below).
  • Investment in a new business or an existing troubled business.
  • Investment in an approved regional center (see below).

Creation of 10 U.S. Jobs Through Investment in a Regional Center

A foreign investor seeking to obtain an EB-5 investor visa must demonstrate that their investment will create at least 10 U.S. jobs. The jobs that are created must employ U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents or other individuals who may legally work in the U.S.

The benefit of creating a regional center is that the sponsor is able to fulfill the job creation requirement by creating ten jobs both directly and indirectly for investors in the project. Direct jobs are those U.S. employees who are employed by the sponsor at the subject project and collect a salary which is reported as income on a W2 form to the Internal Revenue Service. Indirect jobs are those which are deemed to have been created in the community as a positive result of the original investment.

It is clear from a development perspective, that having the ability to fulfill the job creation component with fewer direct jobs in relation to indirect jobs will minimize the financial burden on the sponsor and make it more feasible to satisfy the requirement. Evidence of the direct jobs having been created are submitted at the time the investor files the I-829 Petition for the removal of conditions. Such evidence of direct employment is also used as part of the annual reports submitted by the regional center sponsor to the USCIS EB-5 unit for compliance purposes.

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