Friday, December 15, 2017

Why are the January Visa Numbers for the EB-5 Regional Center Program Unavailable for January 2018? And What’s In Store for the Year of the Dog?

(Source: Wolfsdorf Rosenthal) The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) has just published the Visa Bulletin for January 2018, and the Final Action Dates for the EB-5 $500,000 (I5) and $1 million (R5) investment in the EB-5 Regional Center categories have been listed as “Unavailable”. The Visa Bulletin states: The continuing resolution signed on December 7, 2017 extended this immigrant investor pilot program until December 22, 2017. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on December 22, 2017, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after December 22, 2017. The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Unavailable” for January. If there is legislative action extending them for FY-2018, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for January for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5 which would be subject to a July 22, 2014 final action date.

So, in a nutshell, no EB-5 regional center visas can be issued in January 2018, unless Congress extends the EB-5 Regional Center program beyond. In some ways it is helpful that the regional center program is linked to many other key programs that require re-authorization. Presently, the expectation is that Congress will pass another short term Continuing Resolution to January 18, 2018. Thereafter, there are several possibilities as to what may occur, but the two most likely are yet another short-term extension to April 2018, or possibly to September 2018. If EB-5 reform legislation is not enacted before April 2018, it is likely that DHS’ EB-5 regulations (including a minimum investment amount increase, TEA changes, and other “integrity” reforms), currently scheduled to be finalized by April 2018, will be implemented. The USCIS’ new director L. Francis Cissna has made it clear that he favors regulations over policy memoranda, and we can likely expect to see him support regulatory changes.

On a related issue, DOS also recently announced that, as of November 1, 2017, there are 30,259 EB-5 cases registered at the National Visa Center (NVC) processing center, waiting for final interviews, and in the case of mainland Chinese EB-5 applicants, waiting for their priority dates to become current. This is an increase of nearly 23% from last year. Each I-526 petition takes about 3 visas on average, so it will take about 3 years to clear this group of EB-5 visa applicants.  The report also states that 26,725 Chinese EB-5 visa applicants are waiting at the NVC, accounting for 88% of the entire waiting list for EB-5 visa.  This means that a mainland Chinese investor whose I-526 petition has been approved today, must potentially wait at least 3 years to get a final green card interview, as there are 30,259 cases ahead of the applicant. There are 9,940 EB-5 visas allocated annually.  This means that a Chinese investor whose I-526 petition has been approved today must potentially wait about 3 years to get an interview, as there are 30,259 cases ahead of the applicant.   Since it is taking about 2 years to get a Form I-526 approved, the waiting line for mainland Chinese nationals, is presently about 5 years for people whose case has just been approved. For those filing now, it will be longer unless we get new legislation such as HR 392 (see below), or one of the other solutions.

Note, when trying to calculate the waiting line for Chinese applicants with pending Form I-526s, merely adding the number of pending, initial EB-5 applications to the number of people in line at the National Visa Center and with pending adjustment applications, is not likely to provide a precise answer to determine the mainland Chinese waiting line.  Why?  Neither USCIS nor NVC factor in the attrition rate. There are simply too many variables. For this reason, the State Department tends to provide a best case and worst-case scenario in terms of wait times. Also because of these variables, the DOS is reluctant to make long term predictions where there is no “clear visibility on number usage”. Is there an issue or problem, yes? How bad is the problem, it is serious? However, there are several solutions. At this time however, it is important to understand the attrition rate will be impacted by several variables. There are visa petition denials, and final immigrant visa interview denials, and there are people that drop out, and there are people that get divorced. There are even people who die. Hence, our four Ds: Denial, dropout, divorce and death all contribute to attrition. While we have been hoping congress will correct the program to 10,000 investors, not 3,000 investors and their families. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem likely at this time absent successful litigation.

There is however some potential good news for mainland Chinese investors in the EB-5 waiting line.  A new bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives called the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017 which would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to: (1) eliminate the per country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants and (2) modify the Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992 to eliminate the provision requiring the reduction of annual Chinese immigrant visas to offset status adjustments under such Act.  This immigration bill has significant congressional support, with 301 current co-sponsors (nearly 70% of all representatives in the House of Representatives). Moreover, Senator Grassley and Representative Goodlatte, the two most powerful politicians in the Senate and House handling this immigration issue, have indicated they support the “Hatch” proposal, which, in general, endorses H.R. 392. If enacted, Chinese EB-5 investors with priority dates in 2014 and 2015 would be able to obtain an immigrant visa much more quickly, as one’s place in the waiting line will no longer dependent on the nation of chargeability.

Though there is still too much uncertainly to determine what will occur, it appears there is hope that meaningful EB-5 reform will occur in the coming year.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

EB5 Visa scheme, the best route to US, gets December 22 extension

(The Economic Times) The US' EB5 visa scheme, also known as the Golden Visa, has been extended till December 22. "It is good news for all the applicants since we are seeing another short-term traditional extension here. However, it should be the last one," said Tanuj Patel, MD at LD Capital Bridge, a US-based commercial lending firm.

Introduced by the US Congress in 1990, the EB5 visa programme allows an individual to invest $500,000 in either of two Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) -- a high unemployment area in a US metropolis or a rural area outside of a metro -- or $1 million in a non-TEA area that can create 10 or more jobs and get US citizenship in a shorter time than H1-B visa holders.

The EB-5 program gained popularity as the laws for H1-B got tougher and uncertain this year. Currently, more and more Indians graduating from U.S. universities are opting for the EB-5 visa which grants them the green card in the shortest span. "At present India stands in the sixth position for EB-5 and with more awareness spreading about the various programs, EB-5 applications from India shall rise," said Patel.

The visa programme has come under controversy with critics saying that it puts up US citizenship for sale. However, the US Congress in September extended the scheme by three months. This is the second extension this year.

What does it mean for Indian applicants?

Asked what it would mean for Indian applicants, Mark Davies of Davis and Associates LLC said that Indian applicants needed to be very mindful of two issues looming over the EB5 scheme: A likely price increase and retrogression.

Asked about the demographic profile of Indians applying for the EB5 visa, he mentioned students studying in the US, workers on H1B visas already in the US, business owners looking to expand into the US and families looking to relocate to the US.

According to DeCicco, the Trump administration has brought all visas under hard scrutiny. "They have implemented tougher regulations on immigration and have increased the screening process of applicants under each category.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Chinese delegation visit Puerto Rico




Mr. Brian Su led a delegation from China Travel Services to San Juan Puerto Rico December 3-5. The delegation met with Secretary of Luis Marine and Tourism officials to explore tourism opportunities in Puerto Rico.  As Air China will soon start weekly flights to Panama in Summer 2018, more Chinese tourists and business travelers will have opportunities of visiting Puerto Rico.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

State paid $60,000 for advice on future of Vermont EB-5 Regional Center

(Source: VTdigger.org ) he state commerce agency hired two securities law firms last year to field questions from a federal agency after allegations of fraud were brought against the developers at Jay Peak Resort.

The fraud, which involved $200 million in allegedly stolen EB-5 money, occurred under the state’s watch. The misuse of foreign investor funds began in 2008 when the developers used EB-5 money to buy the resort. Federal regulators say that act of fraud launched a Ponzi scheme that continued unabated for a decade. Read more at https://vtdigger.org/

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

South El Monte lawyer pleads guilty to $50M EB-5 visa-fraud scheme in San Gabriel

(Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune)  A South El Monte attorney pleaded guilty Monday to federal fraud and money laundering charges stemming from a $50 million visa fraud scheme that gave green cards to Chinese nationals, including criminals on China’s most wanted list.

Victoria Chan pleaded guilty to exploiting the EB-5 visa program, which allows immigrants to the United States to receive green cards in exchange for investing at least $500,000 in an American business that creates jobs. See more report at http://www.sgvtribune.com/

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Feds approve Mount Snow EB-5 center bid

(Source: The Deerfield Valley News) Peak Resorts and Mount Snow announced last week that the US Customs and Immigration Service has approved their application to create their own EB-5 regional center.  Read more at http://www.dvalnews.com/

Sunday, November 19, 2017

New EB-5 regional centers

New EB-5 regional centers have recently been designated by USCIS:
  • 1 America Regional Center (California)
  • AHRC PA, LLC (Pennsylvania)
  • ARE Regional Center (MA), LLC (Massachusetts)
  • American Ace Development Regional Center, LLC (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)
  • American East Coast Regional Center, LLC (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York)
  • American Fortune Regional Center, LLC (Texas)
  • American Real Estate Growth Regional Center, LLC (California)
  • City by City EB-5 Regional Center PR USA, LLC (Puerto Rico)
  • Fairhaven Capital Advisors American Samoa Regional Center Corp. (American Samoa)
  • Florida Opportunities Regional Center LLC (Florida)
  • Genesis Regional Center, LLC (California)
  • Golden Shores Regional Center (California)
  • Gulf Coast SW Regional Center, LLC (Florida)
  • Hawaiian Opportunities Regional Center, LLC (Hawaii)
  • LA Yucaipa Regional Center, LLC (California)
  • Liberty Investment Center LLC (Illinois, Wisconsin)
  • MZH Capital Partners, Inc. (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)
  • Montana Real Estate EB-5 Regional Center, LLC (Montana)
  • New Sun EB-5 Regional Center, LLC (California)
  • Paradise City Funding Regional Center, LLC (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York)
  • Pocono EB-5 Regional Center LLC (New Jersey, Pennsylvania)
  • Related California Regional Center (California)
  • Related Chicago Metro Regional Center (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin)
  • Related Florida Regional Center (Florida)
  • SRC LA, LLC (California)
  • South Carolina Global Regional Center (South Carolina)
  • United Land RC LLC (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)
  • Vegas Regional Center, LLC (California, Nevada)
  • Wealth Global Regional Center, LLC (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York)
  • A List Partners Regional Center, LLC (Texas)
  • Inkstone States Regional Center LLC (Washington)
  • Noblemen Regional Center (Washington)
  • Wasatch Front Regional Center, LLC (Utah)

Seeking new EB-5 project

Chinese migration agents are seeking new EB-5 immigrant investor projects in rural and urban distressed areas, prefer with I-924 and/or I-526 approvals.  Contact us today with project information at artisanbusiness@yahoo.com 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Mount Snow owner gets EB-5 regional center approval

(Source: VermontBiz) Mount Snow, which was delayed last year in its efforts to expand using EB-5 foreign investor funds through the state's regional center, has received approval to open its own regional center.  See story at http://www.vermontbiz.com/

Friday, November 17, 2017

Schedule your 2018 China business travel now!

Artisan Business plans to organize American delegations to China in 2018 to help businesses explore the Chinese investment market. Potential clients include Private Equity, Real Estate Developers, Business Owners and Alternative Investments. Contact us today at artisanbusiness@gmail.com if you are interested so we can begin promoting your 2018 China marketing tour.

Beyond the EB-5 Visa Waiting Line: E-2 Visa Options for Mainland-Chinese Entrepreneurs

(Source: Bernard Wolfsdorf & Joseph Barnett) The EB-5 visa waiting line for mainland-Chinese has become so long that many Chinese nationals are now seeking other ways to enter the U.S. often so their children may study at U.S. universities.  Some are investigating obtaining U.S. permanent residence through the EB-1C category for multinational managers or executives (or the related non-immigrant L-1 visa). Other have decided to explore non-immigrant E-1 treaty trader, or E-2 treaty investor visas. There are 80 countries with treaties, but mainland China and India do not qualify (although citizens of Pakistan and Taiwan do qualify). For the E-treaty visa, the applicant must have obtained citizenship from an E Treaty Country.

One country that has become popular for E-2 treaty purposes is Grenada because of its “Citizenship by Investment Program”.  In this scenario, obtaining an E-visa is a two-step process:  First, the person needs to qualify for the Grenada passport, and then, the person must make an investment in the U.S. to qualify for a U.S. E-2 visa.

Here are five important things to know about the E-2 visa option.
  1. Grenada Citizenship. The first step for a mainland-Chinese national is to obtain Grenada citizenship through the 2013 Grenada Citizenship by Investment Act. This law provides two investment options: (1) a $200,000 non-refundable donation to the National Transformation Fund, and (2) a $350,000 acquisition of property from a Grenada government real estate project, which must be held for a minimum of three years.  The process to obtain Grenada citizenship is quite simple, and there are no residency requirements. 
  2. E-2 Investment. Once Grenada citizenship has been obtained, the next step is to invest in a new commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking, producing some service or commodity, in the U.S. The minimum investment amount for E-2 must be “substantial.” The amount may vary based on the type of business being established or bought but can range from $100,000 to $250,000.  The more that is invested, the greater the chances of the E-2 visa being approved.  Additionally, the E-2 applicant must be in a position to develop and direct the commercial enterprise.  The use of franchises is a popular way for foreign nationals to start a business with established branding that could qualify for E-2 visa.  Another option is to buy 51% of an existing business, where the sole issue to effectuate the transaction is the issuance of the visa, which can be accomplished through use of an escrow. This provides a safe option, in that the investor can avoid having to invest if the visa is not issued. An E-2 visa application is ordinarily submitted directly to a U.S. consulate or embassy for adjudication.  Spouses can obtain unrestricted work authorization although that takes about 3-4 months to process. Minor children on E-2 visas are eligible to attend U.S. schools and universities.
  3. Issues of Vetting by Grenadian Government. One of the issues of using a Grenadian passport for E-2 purposes is that Grenada does not currently collect biometric data for applicants for citizenship. While the U.S. does, it would be advisable to include documentation verifying that the applicant is who he or she purports to be. 
  4. Intent to Depart Upon Termination of E-2 Status. The E-2 visa is not a full dual intent visa. This means that an applicant must have an unequivocal intent to return home when the E-2 status ends. However, the good news is that the filing (or approval) of a Form I-526 should not prevent the issuance of an E-2 visa, as long as intent to depart the U.S is clearly demonstrated.  The Field Adjudicators Manual (“FAM”) states: 
    An applicant for an E visa need not establish intent to proceed to the United States for a specific temporary period of time, nor does an applicant for an E visa need to have a residence in a foreign country which the applicant does not intend to abandon.  The alien may sell his or her residence and move all household effects to the U.S.  The alien’s expression of an unequivocal intent to return when the E status ends is normally sufficient, in the absence of specific indications of evidence that the alien’s intent is to the contrary.  If there are such objective indications, inquiry is justified to assess the applicant’s true intent.  As discussed in 9 FAM 402.12-14, an applicant might be a beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition filed on his or her behalf.  However, the alien might satisfy you that his and/or her intent is to depart the United States upon termination of status, and not stay in the United States to adjust status or otherwise remain in the United States regardless of legality of status.
  5. Converting E-2 Enterprise into Direct EB-5 Investment. It is also possible, if done properly, that an E-2 applicant use the E-2 enterprise as the basis for a direct EB-5 investment, if new circumstances should arise resulting in U.S. permanent residency becoming an objective.  For more information on this possibility, read our blog “7 Things to Know About Converting an E-2 Visa to an EB-5 Green Card”.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Job-creating EB-5 visa program sees numbers decline

(Source: San Francisco Examiner) The EB-5 program provides a pathway to legal permanent residence to foreign nationals who create at least 10 new jobs by investing $1 million directly in a business or a Regional Center (an approved enterprise). Alternatively, that amount drops by half ($500,00) if the investment is in a targeted employment area (TEA) — an area that’s hurting on the jobs front. The Regional Center program comes up for renewal every four years and is subject to the sunset provision. Several legislators have demanded re-examination of TEAs, adjusting the level of investments — accounting for inflation, and some have even proposed the program’s elimination. Sen. Dianne Feinstein called it “U.S. citizenship for sale” and argued the morality of giving preference to wealthy investors over others who’ve faced significant challenges in their lives due to persecution and poverty.

I do believe that it’s not one program over the other. Both kinds of visa programs should co-exist. Our immigration portfolio must include policies that clearly, overwhelmingly and immediately benefit our economy, too. After all, the EB-5 program was started with job creation in mind, especially in towns and cities that need stimulation. Rohit Kapuria, an associate at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr and an expert on EB-5s, who was named one of the top 5 EB-5 Rising Stars by EB5 Investors Magazine in 2016, calls the program “crucial financing” and firmly believes that EB-5s are effective.
“The number of jobs that are created and the amount of capital deployment that has occurred because of EB-5 is significant,” he said. 

An Invest in the USA (IIUSA) study of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data on EB-5s for 2016 shows a $6.67 billion investment in our economy from this one immigration program. “So, but for EB-5s, the large number of projects that we work on wouldn’t be completed,” Kapuria said. The tricky and somewhat muddled aspect of EB-5s is how China has dominated the EB-5 narrative. IIUSA analysis shows that China captured 82.5 percent of EB-5 specific visas, with 10,948 I-526 filings. In contrast, Vietnam and India, second- and third-highest on the list, filed 404 and 354 applications, respectively, yielding a combined 5.7 percent. “I actually represent a well-known regional center in San Francisco called Golden Gate Global,” Kapuria said. “They’ve done the Shipyards deal, they’ve done the Sacramento Kings deal, they’ve done Brooklyn Basin and they have a very heavy China focus.”

From his own experience, Kapuria believes that a part of China’s domination is due to brand name build-up “There’s actually one [project] in downtown San Francisco, which was a $350 million twin office building that I worked on,” he said. “The brand name of the Chinese company that then JV’ed [joint venture] with the U.S. company was able to help in attracting EB-5 capital. So roughly around $35 million of EB-5 capital went into that project." Since 1990, when the program was first created, China has consistently been ahead of other countries in EB-5 visas. Because the annual limit was set at 10,000 visas and it was ruled that no single country could use more than 7.1 percent of the available visas, it was also allowed that if no other country made it to its 7.1 percent per-country limit, the differential from every country then could be added to a single country. Other than China, no other country has reached that target as yet. But this has also resulted in a very severe backlog for China.

“From the time an investor in mainland China invests in a project, ’til the time that they get a permanent 10-year green card — not the temporary green card — you’re looking at probably a 12- to 13-year wait,” Kapuria said. One reason for this severe backlog is in the interpretation of the visa limit. Is it 10,000 EB-5 visas or 10,000 visas issued due to EB-5 approval, which includes immediate family? “The state department has been interpreting the 10,000 limit as being investors and investors’ immediate family, which is [a] spouse and any child under 21,” Kapuria explained. “So when you account for total number of investors, you’re looking at approximately 3,500 investors total.”
This is an extremely short-sighted interpretation. If the original intent of the EB-5 was job creation, then shouldn’t we be assured of 10,000 times 10, or 100,000 jobs every year, instead of 35,000 jobs? It seems ludicrous that we’d undercut our own benefits. Kapuria hopes that Congress might take a second look at the original intent of the program.

“Part of the legislative push is whether Congress would be willing to clarify that intent and make it prospective,” he added. Due to the backlog, it stands to reason that the appetite for EB-5 visas in China is declining, according to Kapuria, and the numbers do reflect this. There has been a 17 percent overall decline in the number of EB-5 filings since 2015, and a 19 percent decline for China, in particular. A decline in EB-5 applications is also a degradation of confidence in America’s robust economy. Let’s hope Congress is able to reconcile some of the issues with the EB-5 program before December. Isn’t job growth one of the promises this administration made?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Despite Uncertainty Surrounding the Program, Developers Work to Expand EB-5 Network

(Source: National Real Estate Investor) The discussion of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has been squarely focused on gridlock on reforms that have been dragging out for the past two years. But while Congress continues to delay any concrete decisions on modifications to the program, it has been full steam ahead for developers looking to access the low-cost source of capital. The cloud of uncertainty surrounding reforms and long-term renewal of the program is acting as a deterrent for developers who are new to the program. However, seasoned developers who have used EB-5 previously are still very active in the market, says Roy Carrasquillo, a member of the immigrant investor program services and compliance practice at Cozen O’Connor in New York City.

“Despite the challenges and despite the fact that we know this law is in a state of uncertainty, the environment for EB-5 is very healthy,” notes Julian Montero, a partner and vice chair in the Miami office of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP and a member of the firm’s corporate transactions & counseling practice group and immigration practice group. Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr currently has two developer clients that are in the process of finalizing documents for hotel projects in Southern Florida. “So there is still activity in EB-5 despite all of the noise,” he says. First introduced as part of the 1990 Immigration Act, EB-5 is an incentive program for foreign investment into the U.S. that trades green cards for capital. Typically, EB-5 money is used to finance economic development and create jobs, especially in urban areas with high unemployment. The most recent data available for 2013-14 shows that more than 11,000 immigrant investors provided $5.8 billion in capital for 562 active EB-5 projects that produced a combined 174,000 jobs, according to a January 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

EB-5 marketplace continues to evolve

Although potential reforms have been dominating much of the conversation about EB-5, the niche market has been adapting to other major shifts in the marketplace. The big draw for developers is that EB-5 represents a low cost source of mezzanine capital, with a cost of about 5 to 7 percent as compared to the 10 to 12 percent that is more the norm for mezzanine financing. Developers have been working harder to expand the EB-5 investor pool as interest has cooled from Chinese investors. China has been a dominant source of EB-5 capital, representing about 75 percent of the market, notes Montero. Each country is allocated a certain number or share of EB-5 visas that its citizens can obtain. Once that maximum amount is reached, the visas go into a process of retrogression, effectively a logjam with people waiting longer to obtain their visas. China hit its retrogression in 2014. “This factor is certainly causing a chilling effect for the Chinese investor who would have to make their investment today and potentially wait seven to 10 years or more before they would get the benefit of their resident status,” says Montero. The typical wait time for investors from other countries is five to seven years.

That pullback from Chinese investors is forcing developers to expand the scope of EB-5 fundraising efforts to other countries, and it is also reducing the size of fundraising amounts. In the past, developers would market very large deals in China of $50 million to $100 million. It is taking longer to raise those larger dollar amounts. So the deal size is shrinking to $5 million to $25 million, and developers are more actively marketing deals in other countries. Regions that have become increasingly active include Latin America, such as Venezuela, Columbia and Brazil, as well as India and some countries in the Middle East. On a positive note, one sign that the EB-5 market is maturing is that more alternative lenders are comfortable stepping into the gap to provide bridge financing for EB-money, notes Carrasquillo. EB-5 money can take more time to assemble and the bridge lenders allow a project to commence while that EB-5 money is falling into place. Raising EB-5 capital requires compliance with U.S. securities laws and it typically takes about nine to 12 months to assemble.

Another looming deadline

Since the EB-5 program officially expired in September 2015, it has received a series of short-term extensions as Congress has worked to come to terms on proposed reforms. The latest extension is set to expire on Dec. 8. It would be surprising if the program didn’t receive another short-term extension sometime in the next few weeks. Part of the delay on reforms and a long-term renewal is simply due to the fact that Congress has had a lot on its plate with healthcare reform, the broader issue of immigration reform and now tax reform. “We all know that there are a lot of bigger issues that Congress and politicians in general are dealing with right now,” says Montero. Most legislators agree that modifications are needed, but they have yet to come to terms on specific details of those changes.

Reforms are expected to include an increase to the current investment amounts. Foreign nationals can qualify for a visa by investing a minimum of $1 million in a development, or $500,000 if it is invested in a qualifying Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs). Those minimum amounts have not changed since the program was first introduced in 1990. It is widely expected that those levels will increase, though it’s not yet clear by how much. Another sticking point is the definition of qualifying TEAs. The whole premise behind EB-5 investment is to spur economic development and job growth in blighted or needy areas. Ninety-nine percent of EB-5 projects are located within bigger states and cities such as California and New York. “I think that EB-5 is here to stay. The benefit that brings for job creation and economic development, at no cost to taxpayers, is something that is really valuable,” says Carrasquillo. “But at the same time there is tension where different states have different interests.”

A third important piece to the reform will be more compliance and oversight. Those reforms will help a more mature EB-5 program resemble more traditional financing, which will be good for the program, adds Carrasquillo. “Particularly on that point, a lot of developers and people using EB-5 capital within their projects are already implementing those best practices and those financially sound compliance and oversight measures,” he adds.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Artisan organizes successful conference in Guangzhou, China

Over 40 finance professionals gathered in the southern city of Guangzhou, China. The conference organized by Artisan Business Group discussed EB-5 legislative updates, retrogression and the important issue of retrogression. Speakers included Reid Thomas of NES Financial, Scott Fuller and Danny Zhang of Capital United, Kelvin Luo and Brian Su.



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Financial Professionals join in Beijing to discuss EB-5 updates, Retrogression and Redeployment

Wealth managers, emigration agents and financial service providers joined in Beijing to attend a seminar hosted by Artisan Business Group. Speakers included Reid Thomas of NES Financial, Scott Fuller and Danny Zhang of Capital United, Kelvin Luo and Brian Su.




Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Retrogression is the most critical issue in EB-5 Program

USCIS is dealing with huge retrogression for Chinese applicants as more and more Chinese investors apply for the EB-5 visa.  2014 was the first year the EB-5 program hit the assigned 10,000 annual visas capacity.  Chinese investors started facing a consistent visa backlog in 2015 and it continues to grow each year. We recently heard Charles Oppenheim, the Chief of the Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting within the U.S. Department of State, predict Vietnam will be subject to a cut-off date in 2018 and India by 2020.  However, this backlog of visas is most critical of Chinese investors who contribute to roughly 80% of EB-5 investors. 

Developers may be able to explore emerging markets but it is still the ever-important Chinese market that is the backbone of capital into the United States.  Chinese investors are going to lose interest in EB-5 and consider other emigration programs as retrogression forces waiting lines to become longer.

The growing retrogression issue has the potential to undermine the primary goal of the EB-5 Program. The intent of the program is to create new American jobs from foreign capital. As backlogs and waiting lines become longer, we fully expect the EB-5 program to become less popular and less capital to flow into the United States. It is important that we face retrogression head on now so we can fully maximize the benefits of the EB-5 Program.