Sunday, September 28, 2014

Reminder to Complete Form I-924A

(By Catharine Yen Greenberg Traurig)
In order to demonstrate continued eligibility for the Regional Center designation, the Regional Center must file Form I-924A (Supplement to Form I-924A) and supporting documentation between September 30th and December 29th of the fiscal year. Thus, all Regional Centers who were designated on or before September 30, 2014, will need to submit their Form I-924As between October 1, 2014, and December 29, 2014. Without properly and timely filing the Form I-924A, USCIS may issue a Notice of Intent to Terminate (NOIIT) the Regional Center’s designation.

At the September 9, 2014, USCIS EB-5 Stakeholder Conference, Director Nick Colucci provided important filing tips for Form I-924As. Director Colucci stated that in the previous year, 29 Regional Centers failed to file Form I-924A which resulted in an issuance of NOIITs to those centers. In fact, Director Colucci stated that 24 NOITTs were issued to Regional Centers because they failed to demonstrate how they were promoting economic growth as stipulated in the regulations. Furthermore, Director Colucci stated that inactive regional centers should also submit a statement with their Form I-924A explaining why their regional center was inactive this past year. Additionally, Director Colucci advised that the statement should also include how the Regional Center has previously promoted economic growth and development.

There is no filing fee associated with filing the I-924A, and it should be filed with USCIS at the California Service Center. Regional Centers should meet with counsel to discuss how to properly file their annual I-924A with sufficient supporting evidence to show that the regional is promoting economic growth.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Need EB-5 funding for Energy Projects? Join us in Dallas

October 22, 2014
Dallas, Texas

Artisan Business Group (llinois) and Seidler Oil & Gas LP (Texas) are to host the 2014 China-US Energy and Natural Resources Investment Conference in Dallas, Texas on October 22, 2014. A good number of investment firms and executives from China are expected to attend the one day EB-5 investment conference where US energy, oil and gas drilling, and mining executives will be exploring investment capital and JV partnership opportunities with its’ Chinese counterparts.

The one-day investment conference will focus on how to attract foreign investment into the US energy and natural resources industry. Expert speakers from the energy and natural resources industry and international capital markets will share their experience of how to facilitate private investment from China. The US energy and natural resource industry is one of the fastest growing opportunities in the world and Chinese investment companies and individual investors see the opportunities for future cooperation. The United States will become the top oil produced in the world by 2015 according to the International Energy Agency. The IEA also predicts the US will be able to meet nearly all of its energy needs from domestic sources by 2035. The 2014 China-US Energy and Natural Resources Investment Conference is open to professionals from the energy and natural resources industry, private equity, investment banking, mergers & acquisition lawyers, investment & security attorneys, and international wealth markets.

Speakers and Panelists

  • Ms. Aijun Cheng, Director, Seidler Oil and Gas LP
  • Mr. Wei Long, Partner, Energy Invest & Consulting LLC
  • Dr. Jerry Jieyuan Zhang, COO, DFG Energy Company, LLC
  • Mr.Tom Tong, Attorney, Int'l Partner, Locke Lord LLP
  • Mr. Raymond Ku, Chairman, Westlead Capital Group
  • Mr. Ted Hong, Partner, Goldin Peiser & Peiser, LLP
  • Mr. Brian Su, CEO, Artisan Business Group, Inc.
  • Dr. Scott Barnhart, President, Barnhart Economic Services, LLC

    Register online at http://2014oil.eventbrite.com or call 217-899-6661

Friday, September 26, 2014

ABG hosts inbound education agents


Artisan Business Group is hosting inbound education agents from China.  Each year thousands of Chinese students are enrolled in US colleges and universities with assistance of overseas education agents in China.  Many of them eventually became EB-5 investors. For more information about marketing EB-5 projects in China, contact us at artisanbusiness@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chinese emigration agents gather in Chicago

Over 30 emigration agents, EB-5 regional center executives, project developers, tax advisors, immigration attorneys from Chinese immigration industry came together in Chicago for a one day close door discussion on recent developments in EB-5 industry. The event is hosted by Artisan Business Group and attended by Chinese immigration professionals from China, the US and Canada.  For more information about EB-5 program, contact us at 217-899-6661 or email artisanbusiness@gmail.com

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Report from China: US registered broker/dealer vs Chinese emigration agents

We have been talking to many Chinese emigration agents on the topic of US registered broker/dealer in the EB-5 capital raising process.  The majority of emigration agents in China lack of understanding on how US based broker/dealer function in Chinese market since these registered US dealer/brokers are not allowed to directly recruit investors in China.  In the Chinese market, licensed and bonded emigration service companies are the main source for EB-5 project representation and marketing, US dealer/broker is not registered with the Chinese exit/entry authority.  Investors are also skeptical about the role of US broker/dealer since they are unfamiliar with the industry. In addition, fees that is charged and collected by US registered dealer/broker may drive the cost up and prevent more US developers from utilizing EB-5 program. To learn more about EB-5 project marketing in China, contact us at artisanbusiness@gmai.com.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

ABG hosts inbound real estate developers from China

ABG is hosting inbound real estate developers and executives from China to explore business opportunities in the U.S.  For more information about real estate development opportunities, contact us at artisanbusiness@gmail.com.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Steps to Becoming a Broker Dealer

(Source: William Mack of Greenberg Traurig) Section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the Act) requires registration of any broker-dealer effecting securities transactions by means of interstate commerce unless an appropriate exemption is available. In order to register as a broker-dealer in the United States, an application for registration—called Form BD—must be made to the SEC and a self-regulatory organization (SRO), which, in most instances, will be the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Form BD asks questions about the background of the broker-dealer and its principals, controlling persons, employees, affiliates, parent entities and subsidiaries. The broker-dealer must meet the statutory requirements to engage in a business that involves high professional standards, and quite often includes the more rigorous responsibilities of a fiduciary. Form BD is filed on FINRA’s Central Registration Database, an online system designed by FINRA and the state regulators to centralize broker-dealer registration. Once filed, the SEC has 45 days to issue an order granting registration or institute a proceeding to determine whether registration should be denied. The SEC does not charge a fee for filing Form BD.

If granted, the SEC’s order does not become effective until an applicant has become a member of an SRO. Most broker-dealers choose to be registered with FINRA. Application for membership in FINRA consists of Form BD, Forms U-4 and U-5, a business plan, copies of agreements with banks, clearing agents and service bureaus, financial information (including sources of capital), a description of the supervisory system and written supervisory procedures, an anti-money laundering program and a description of the firm’s continuing education program. As part of the application process, principal officers and other persons associated with the broker-dealer who would be engaged in the securities or investment banking businesses must register with FINRA, take certain qualifying examinations and be fingerprinted.

FINRA’s evaluation typically takes five to six months from the time the completed application has been filed. However, it can be longer if the appropriate personnel do not pass the registration examinations, if an examiner has concerns about any of the anticipated business lines or if FINRA’s requests for additional information are not responded to in a timely manner. FINRA charges fees for all applications.

In addition to registration with the SEC and membership in an SRO, a broker-dealer and its agents dealing with public customers in any state must register with the securities regulator in the state unless an appropriate exemption is available. During the application process, a broker-dealer may also be required to become a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, obtain a fidelity bond and complete a lost or stolen securities program registration. If you are unsure whether you need to register or are considering FINRA registration, there are experienced Greenberg Traurig attorneys who can assist you in the process.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

USCIS designates new EB-5 regional centers

USCIS approves new EB-5 regional centers around the country this month.
  • DRC Capital Partners, LLC (Arizona)
  • E & W Lake Tahoe Regional Center LLC (California)
  • New York Connecticut Regional Center, LLC (Connecticut, New York)
  • Encore Georgia Regional Center, LLC (Georgia)
  • Headwaters Regional Center, LLC (Minnesota, Wisconsin)
  • Pacific Casino & Entertainment Group Regional Center (Nevada)
  • AscendAmerica, LLC (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)
  • MidAmerican Global Ventures, LLC (Ohio)
  • Caribbean Regional Center (Puerto Rico) 
  • Abasto Regional Center (Texas)
  • South Texas EB-5 Regional Center (Texas)
  • USLiving Regional Center (Texas)
  • Pacific Viniculture (Washington)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Recent Updates from USCIS Leadership on EB-5

(Source: Dillion Colucci, Greenberg Traurig) On September 9, 2014, USCIS held a stakeholder conference call for individuals interested in the EB-5 Program with John Lion, Julia Harrison and Nicolas Colucci. This was the first stakeholder conference call for the new deputy director of EB-5, Julia Harrison, who has had a long career with USCIS. 

Mr. Colucci gave a run-down of recent developments with the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IIPO) in his opening remarks. The IIPO currently has 83 employees and expects to hire another 10-12 in October. The IIPO goal is to hire approximately 110 employees by the end of the calendar year 2014. USCIS is also working on an interagency symposium with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal banking regulators, and the Departments of Commerce and Labor to increase EB-5 Program awareness, share knowledge and solicit ideas from each other for regulatory changes. Mr. Colucci also discussed the anticipated creation of a new engagement tool known as “EB-5 Interactive,” which would increase engagement with stakeholders, provide filing tips and discuss commonly issued RFEs and how to avoid such RFEs. USCIS is also implementing the Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommendation to partner with the Department of Commerce to conduct a study on the economic impact of the EB-5 Program. Mr. Colucci anticipates that study to release its findings in the summer of 2015.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

EB-5 Conference coming to Seattle on Decemeber 3rd

Artisan Business Group will host an EB-5 Capital Raising Workshop in Seattle, Washington for professionals interested in utilizing the EB-5 program. The EB-5 conference will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel on December 3, 2014. The one-day event is co-sponsored by Seattle Area Regional Center and NESFinancial. Guest speakers will be announced soon! 

Register and book your seat todayFor more information about the event, contact Tyler McKay at 217-899-6661 or artisanbusiness@gmail.com.

Final call! EB-5 China Trade Mission

Final Call!  2014 EB-5 China Business and Investment Trade Mission will be taking place in Shenzhen and Guangzhou Oct 12-18, 2014.  Join this rare opportunity and meet with key emigration agents in Southern China. Contact us at artisanbusiness@gmail.com for details.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chinese Immigration Roundtable Conference to take place in Chicago

Artisan Business Group is to host Chinese Immigration Roundtable Conference in Chicago on September 23.  Immigration professionals from both US and China will be attending to discuss the latest EB-5 business trends.  The event is not open to the general public.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

USCIS approves USLiving Regional Center

Artisan Business Group would like to congratulate USLiving Regional Center on receiving USCIS designation approval for multiple counties in the state of Texas.
 
USLiving Regional Center
Geographic Scope: Texas counties of Brazos, Burleson, Robertson, Grimes, Houston, Lee, Leon, Madison, Milam, Trinity and Walker.
Industries: Oil and Gas Extraction. Drilling oil and gas wells.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

ABG hosts inbound executives from China


ABG team hosts inbound business executives from China to discuss aviation training program for Chinese general aviation industry. For more information about doing business in China, contact us at artisanbusiness@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

USCIS approves DRC Capital Partners, LLC Regional Center

Artisan Business Group would like to congratulate DRC Capital Partners on receiving USCIS designation approval for DRC Capital Partners, LLC Regional Center located in Phoenix, Arizona.

DRC Capital Partners, LLC Regional Center
Geographic Scope: Arizona county of Maricopa County.
Industries: New Multi-Family Housing Construction. Architectural, Engineering & Related Services. Lessors of Residential Buildings & Dwellings.

White House Delays Administrative Action for Immigration Reform

(Source: Laura Foote Reiff) As a follow-up to our webinar on September 3rd regarding potential legislative and administrative action on EB-5 and other immigration relief, the White House has decided to postpone any administrative action until after the November elections. As explained during our webinar, we did believe that such a delay could be precipitated by the political tensions between the parties and the upcoming elections. We will continue to watch the developments coming from the White House and will continue to advocate for much needed reforms to business immigration in general and for the EB-5 practice.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ron Klasko's EB-5 Perspective: The Impact of EB-5 Quota Backlogs on Chinese Families

(Source: Ron Klasko) The purpose of this blog is to highlight what this means to families with children and to discuss the likelihood that the EB-5 quota backlog problem will be resolved by the U.S. Congress. In order to understand the impact of an EB-5 quota backlog for a Chinese family, it is necessary to make reference to the Child Status Protection Act. The Child Status Protection Act was passed by the U.S. Congress to prevent a child from turning 21 (and therefore becoming ineligible to immigrate with his or her parent) because of processing delays by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The law “freezes” a child’s age as of the filing date of the I-526 petition during the entire time that the petition is being processed by USCIS. Assuming the quota is current when the EB-5 petition is approved (which means that a visa number is immediately available), the child’s age remains frozen as long as the child takes action to obtain his immigrant visa (green card) within one year. 

Since the Child Status Protection Act was not meant to protect against quota backlogs, once the I-526 petition is approved, if a visa number is not available because of the quota backlog, the child’s age is “unfrozen”. This means that during every day of quota unavailability, the child’s age increases by one day beyond the age that the child was when the I-526 petition was filed. For example, if the child was 20 years and 6 months old when the I-526 petition was filed, and if the I-526 petition was pending for one year before it was approved, and if the quota is backlogged upon approval, the day after the approval, the child’s age for immigration purposes would be 20 years 6 months and 1 day.
For quite some time, we have been advising that “18 is the new 21”. This means that we have been advising our Chinese clients to file I-526 petitions before their children turn age 18. Although no one knows for sure how long the waiting list will be, we are hopeful that the waiting list will be less than 3 years long. However, the best advice is to file as soon as possible before the child turns 21. 

A curiosity of the Child Status Protection Act is that, in the event of a quota backlog, it is in the investor’s interest for the I-526 petition to be pending as long as possible if the investor has a child. The reason for this is that the child’s age remains frozen for a longer period of time. For the same reason, expediting the approval of an I-526 petition is not only not helpful (because the investor’s place in line is determined by the filing date and not the approval date), but can actually be counterproductive because the child commences the immigration aging process sooner than he otherwise would. 


We are frequently asked to assess the chances that the U.S. Congress will take action to increase EB-5 numbers so as to avoid the quota backlog. The chances of this happening in the near future can only be described as unlikely. There are quota backlogs in many categories of family and employment-based immigration, and Congress has taken no action to deal with them. Unless and until the U.S. House of Representatives decides to act on immigration legislation more broadly, it is very unlikely that it will deal with EB-5 quota numbers as a separate legislative action. Although there is some hope that Congress could take this action at the same time as it extends the regional center program in September 2015, the chance of action on the quota is considered very slim in the opinions of most Washington insiders. 


So can anything be done? There is one possibility. President Obama is presently considering executive actions that he can take consistent with the present law to alleviate problems in the immigration system. One such action that he is considering is an interpretation of the existing law to exclude the family members from the quota count. In the EB-5 context, this would mean that the 10,000 numbers would go to 10,000 investors rather than to 3,000 to 4,000 investors, with the remainder of the numbers going to family members. Many, including this author, believe that the Immigration and Nationality Act has been interpreted incorrectly for many years in that family members should never have been counted against the worldwide immigration quota. If President Obama takes this executive action, the threat of EB-5 quota backlogs for China would immediately disappear. 


Anyone concerned about this issue should contact the White House directly using the following web contact form: http://m.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments. In addition, you may contact your Senator or Congressman and request that he or she advocate this action to the White House directly.