Monday, September 26, 2016

U.S. Senate moves to extend EB-5 program as is

(Source: VTDigger.org) The Senate is moving forward with an extension of the EB-5 immigrant investor program as is and reforms to the program appear unlikely. The provision to extend the program is included in the continuing resolution, a short-term budget bill that allows the government to keep running until early December. Sen. Patrick Leahy says he will vote against the continuing resolution because it does not include a reform package to the EB-5 program. Read full report at https://vtdigger.org/

Sunday, September 25, 2016

California dreamin' for Chinese investors in US

(Source: France 24) From real estate, to high-tech firms to entertainment giants, Chinese investments in the United States, notably California, are moving at a dizzying pace and are on course to smash records again this year.  Chinese companies shelled out a record $15 billion last year in the US and that figure could more than double in 2016, according to research firm Rhodium Group and the National Committee on US-China Relations. California, especially the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, has been at the forefront of China's appetite to invest overseas, with billions of dollars going into the technology, renewable energy and entertainment sectors, and increasingly into real estate.  China has pumped $8 billion into California businesses since 2000, more than in any other state, a recent Rhodium Group study said. Read the report at http://m.france24.com/

Friday, September 23, 2016

EB-5 Regional Center Program termination would lead to Direct EB-5 Takeover


Yesterday, Senator Mitch McConnell filed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would extend the EB-5 Regional Center Program through December 9, 2016. This would be similar to 2015 when EB-5 Regional Center Program was extended for nearly 3 months before getting another extension to September 30, 2016. If the EB-5 Regional Center Program was to expire after December 9th, we would see a race for developers to use Direct EB-5 to secure capital for their projects. 

Direct EB-5 only considers direct W-2 employees for job calculations which makes it hard for large projects to raise sufficient funds to be cost-effective. The rise of franchise models such as restaurants, spas, dental offices and child cares along with small projects (under $10 million) would be the future of the EB-5 project. Less than 5% of all EB-5 projects currently use direct EB-5 program so we would see a significant decrease in the use of the EB-5 Program after December 9thHopefully the Congress will pass a new EB-5 regional center program for five years beyond December 6, 2016.

To learn more about EB-5 program, log on http://www.ArtisanBusinessGroup.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

ABG visits construction project in Puerto Rico

Artisan Business Group is traveling to Puerto Rico to visit ongoing real estate developments nearby San Juan. There are currently seven EB-5 Regional Centers covering the island of Puerto Rico. Join us in New York City October 28th to learn the latest in the EB-5 market.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Migration agents seek new EB-5 projects

Migration agent in China is seeking a hospital related EB-5 regional center project, interested party shall contact us at artisanbusiness@yahoo.com 

To learn more a bout EB-5 regional center program and the latest market trends, please visit us at http://www.ArtisanBusinessGroup.com

EB-5 China Market: how to stand out

There are over 800 designated EB-5 regional centers around the country. We have seen the market to be dominated by major EB-5 regional centers and or its big projects in metropolitan areas such as Manhattan and Beverly Hills. With help from former politicians from the US endorsing their projects in China, many smaller US projects in less well known cities and rural areas have been forced to compete with big players in the Chinese marketplace.  However, smaller projects have its own advantages to be discovered, projects in 2nd/3rd tier cities need to develop much more effective and efficient marketing strategies in order to stand out.  We have seen many mistakes made at early stage, mistakes include: lack of professional guidance, team up with wrong parties, deficient marketing materials, wrong timing, short of marketing budget, etc. While some agents and investors alike are interested in investing in large projects with key regional centers, many investors investing in much smaller and manageable projects is a better choice.  

To learn more about improving your project's marketing conditions, please contact us at artisanbusiness@yahoo.com 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

ABG team visits East St Louis



Artisan Business Group team visits enterprises in East St. Louis and discussed inbound investments with local officials and business owners.  Urban priority areas such as East St. Louis is definitely in need of capital for business growth and job creations. 

To learn more about attracting Chinese investments, please log on http://www.ArtisanBusinessGroup.com for more information. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Congressman Goodlatte's new EB-5 bill: impacts for Chinese migration agents

Congressman Bob Goodlatte's new EB-5 regional center reform bill requires overseas finder and agents to fully disclose their fees when they represent and promote regional center projects. The new reform bill also require agents to register with USCIS and disclose all fee arrangements with investor clients.  Investors are also required to sign a disclosure that they understand such fee arrangements between finders and projects.

Currently most of fee arrangements are not disclosed by Chinese migration agents, and many investors are not aware of compensations paid to agents from project developers and/or regional centers.  Because investors have to sign a disclosure and acknowledge such payments to their "immigration consultants" from US projects, investors might be quite upset if such fees are high or exceed their expectations.  As a result, we expect that Chinese agents will try to utilize third party offshore company to keep fees invisible to the end (investors) clients. In the mean time, big agents may no longer feel comfortable to ask for big fees from US regional centers and developers.  The new bill may be helpful to lower marketing costs for regional centers.

To learn more about EB-5 market conditions, join us in NYC on Oct. 26.

New EB-5 Bill will Prevent Glamour Projects from Trumping Oppressed America

(Source: Urban Equality Now)  Last Friday, a new EB-5 bill was proposed by Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) that would prevent real estate developers from obtaining high unemployment area status for their projects, which are actually located in affluent communities. This bill is a result of legislative collaboration by Mr. Goodlatte and Senior Ranking House Judiciary Member John Conyers (D-MI). Click here to read full article.

To learn more about new trends of EB-5 program, join our event in NYC on Oct. 26.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Leahy Eyes Provision to Aid Defrauded EB-5 Investors

(Source: Valley News)  Investors in the EB-5 program whose immigration status is in limbo due to allegations of fraud may get some relief. Proposed changes to a federal foreign investor program working their way through Congress do not go as far as Michael Goldberg, the man appointed by a federal court to protect the interests of investors in the Jay Peak projects, had initially been seeking.  See complete report at http://www.vnews.com/

EB-5 Chinese market update: debate on Chinese coportations involvement in EB-5


The news hits homes in China quickly about Senator Chuck Grassley's strong position against foreign corporation involvement in federally approved EB-5 regional centers around the country and its equity and financial involvement in development projects under EB-5 program, these large development projects mostly are located in downtown areas of big cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Seattle, etc.  The letter has become a hot topic among Chinese migration industry and investors alike. It is very interesting to see various opinions and feedback from Chinese market.

As more than 80% EB-5 investors have been coming from China past five years, Chinese investors have particular preference of investing along with large Chinese corporations because of name recognition and its close ties to government in China; to Chinese investors, it means "safe" to invest along side by side with EB-5 regional centers or EB-5 projects that are involved by Chinese developers, Chinese banks, Chinese insurance companies, or even private equity funds from China. 

In Senator Chuck Grassley's letter, many large Chinese corporations are mentioned,  however, there are other large or midsize Chinese companies in EB-5 business.  Some of these companies are China's largest state controlled or state-influenced construction and finance entities. Their active participation has created an unlevel playing field which makes it most difficult or impossible for US developers (especially in rural and 2nd tier/3rd tier cities) to compete. As a result of the unfair practice and intense competition, many good and much needed job-creating projects in smaller cities, rural, priority urban and impoverished areas became absolute losers under the current EB-5 immigrant investors program. In addition, franchises are a major growth engine in the US for permanent jobs, mostly for less educated or low income workers, these small businesses fuel job growth and financing has been greatly restricted to franchises, many franchise operators turn to EB-5 program for alternative capital,  however foreign corporate involvements hurt franchise EB-5 projects around the country.

The fact of Chinese corporate or state-controlled entities involvement in a US federal immigration program has also caused key concerns for many privately owned Chinese migration agencies, these agents are mostly small consulting firms who have been kept out of the business by the alliance of large US-China corporations and its big Chinese migration partners. The majority of Chinese migration industry (most members are smaller firms)  have very slim opportunities of representing large and fancy EB-5 projects controlled by large Chinese corporations. Therefore, many agents see the urgent needs to keep huge foreign (Chinese) corporations out of EB-5 program. 

Everyone in the market is eager to see what would happen in a future legislation concerning EB-5 immigrant investors program.  A reform bill is urgently needed! 

To learn more about the future trends of market in China, please contact us at http://www.ArtisanBusinessGroup.com

The National Visa Center Notifies Hundreds of Chinese Applicants Processing of EB-5 Based Immigrant Visa Applications Suspended until Oct. 1

The National Visa Center notifies hundreds of Chinese applicants processing of EB-5 based immigrant Visa applications suspended until Oct. 1, 2016.  Please read update at http://www.natlawreview.com/

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New EB-5 regional centers

New EB-5 regional centers have been designated.
  • APIC Regional Center California (California)
  • AmerAsia EB5 Regional Center SF, LLC (California)
  • American Investment Fund Regional Center, LLC (Oregon, Washington)
  • Invest Atlanta Regional Center (Georgia)
  • KOIT Global Investments (Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee)
  • Southern California Investments Regional Center (California)
  • Sun Island Regional Center (California)
  • The Flame Regional Center, LLC (New Mexico, Texas)

H.R 5992 Mark-up Has Been Cancelled

The mark-up scheduled for H.R 5992 "American Job Creation and Investment Promotion Reform Act of 2016" has been cancelled. It was scheduled for September 14th at 10:00 am Eastern Time. We will continue to follow legislative updates.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

GAO releases EB-5 report: Immigrant Investor Program: Progress Made to Detect and Prevent Fraud, but Additional Actions Could Further Agency Efforts.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the following:

REPORT
Immigrant Investor Program: Progress Made to Detect and Prevent Fraud, but Additional Actions Could Further Agency Efforts.
 
GAO-16-828, September 13

As Foreign Corporations Profit from EB-5 Investments, U.S. Benefits in Question

Sep 12, 2016 (For Immediate Release) WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is raising concern about how the EB-5 immigrant investor program is allowing networks of foreign participants to syphon the economic benefits away from the American people living in areas that the program was created to assist.  In a letter today to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Grassley discussed how foreign entities are profiting from playing a more central role in EB-5 projects, some of which cater to investors from the real estate developers’ home countries rather than those living in the regions that the program was designed to serve.

“Permitting foreign ownership of a regional center improperly allows foreign corporations to acquire interests in U.S. real estate projects, market U.S. green cards to foreign investors, and in some cases gain significant profits from selling EB-5 developed products, i.e. new homes, to foreign investors.  Moreover, EB-5 investment projects that create a tangible output, such as a real estate development, that is principally if not exclusively available for the enjoyment only of the foreign investors themselves, have a snake-eating-its-own-tail quality about them that Congress absolutely did not intend; they subordinate any benefit to the American people actually living in the Targeted Employment Area to the benefit of wealthy foreign investors.,” Grassley said in the letter.

The EB-5 program was established to promote commercial investment in the United States by granting visas in exchange for foreign investments of $1 million, or $500,000 in economically depressed areas of the country.  People living in those areas would then benefit from the economic and tangible outputs from the projects.  However, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may have approved of projects in which foreign entities control every step of the program, from project ownership to investor recruitment to the final marketing of the project’s output.  Grassley cited several examples in the letter, including projects in New York, Texas and Illinois.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Quick Thoughts on New EB-5 Bill

 The new EB-5 bill introduced by Congressman Bob Goodlatte definitely has many good points: increasing non TEA investment requirement to $1.2 million; strong integrity clauses; keeping foreign government interests out of the federal immigration program; total transparency required on overseas agents/finders and its fees.  The most attractive part of the new bill is to to set aside total 4000 visas for projects in rural and priority urban areas. However, per-approval requirements of project's business plan is not practical in real world, it may kill many smaller development and manufacturing projects in rural and TEA areas. To learn more about the future market and its trends of EB-5 program, join us in NYC on Oct 26.

Friday, September 9, 2016

EB-5 China Market Update

Today the US Congress produced a new bill on EB-5 regional center program, the Chinese industry stakeholders are calling it "Crazy Bill". The required USCIS pre-approval of project's business plan is not realistic and will kill many projects that need foreign capital! Fully disclosing finder's fees to investors will put a stop to many migration agents in the marketplace, some agents will completely give up EB-5 business. Though Chinese migration agents call Crazy Bill insane, it is a great plan to set aside 4000 visa quota for projects in rural areas and priority urban areas. Having $25000 annual fee collected for the Integrity Fund is very necessary to get rid of many non-producing and dysfunctional regional centers. To learn more about EB-5 marketplace's latest trends, join us in NYC on Oct 26

House introduces new EB-5 regional center bill

Attached is the proposed 123-pages legislation.

Find proposed bill here:
https://app.box.com/s/hxg6klnylxjxtvbw9osryxdem1j3a7ms

Thursday, September 8, 2016

EB-5 update in Chinese market: PE+EB5

To continue the discussion on current market conditions in China, it is a new trend that EB-5 projects start utilizing the combination of Chinese private equity funds and EB-5 funds from China.  Some mixed-use projects in New York City, Boston, Dallas and San Francisco are using both PE and EB-5 investments from China. The advantage for such projects is that top performing Chinese PE fund's involvement has made projects more attractive and appealing to EB-5 investors from China. It is also provide a stronger sale tools for Chinese migration agents to attract attention, such EB-5 projects are much easier to raise EB-5 capital. A number of smaller Chinese funds are seeking opportunities in 2nd tier cities, Dallas and Houston are very popular destinations. 

To learn more about new trends in China, come to join us at Chinese Real Estate PE and EB-5 Investments Forum on October 26.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Chinese immigration executives visit ABG

A group of Chinese immigration investment executives from Beijing and Shenzhen visit Artisan Business Group office and discuss future market trends in China. As more and more Chinese companies are interested in investing in the US, immigration service providers are expanding their services to target Chinese enterprises.  To learn more about attracting Chinese investments, please contact us at http://www.artisanbusinessgroup.com.