Sunday, November 29, 2015

China Private Equity Forum attracts Chinese migration agents

As so much uncertainties and unforeseeable future of the EB-5 regional center program, many migration agents are starting to explore private equity investments for their clients in China. The China Private Equity Forum will feature one of the leading EB-5 migration agencies Worldway Group. The firm's CEO Dr. Winner Xing will discuss his strategic new PE approaches in 2016. Representatives from other Chinese migration agencies will be coming to learn opportunities within PE investments. To learn more about the event and book a seating, please log on

Friday, November 27, 2015

Yingke announces Yingke Chicago China Center

The largest international law firm Yingke in Asia announces the openning of Yingke Chicago China Center, a business to business platform that will assist Chinese companies to enter the US market, specifically Illinois and surrounding states. The Yingke Chicago China Center will be managed by local business professionals. An opening celebration was held in Chicago this week, Yingke founder Mr. Xiangrong Mei and global partner Ms. Linda Yang from China participated in the event where they also met with leaders from the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago.  Yingke Law Firm has nearly 4000 attorneys in 32 offices in China and 30 affiliated offices worldwide. By the end of 2016, Yingke expects to open additional 10 overseas China Centers in Asia and Europe. Yingke NYC China Center is scheduled to be opening December 3, 2015. Yingke Bangkok China Center is to be opened mid-December 2015. 

Chinese Overseas Investment Services Group announced today

Sichuan Exit and Entry Services Association today announced the establishment of Chinese Overseas Investment Services Group Ltd. Co. The newly established company consists of over two dozen licensed migration agencies in western China.  To learn more about Chinese investment services, please contact us today at

Thursday, November 26, 2015

SEC Says At Least $10M Was Diverted From Calif. EB-5 Funds

(Source: U.S. authorities moved to freeze the assets Thursday of a California doctor, an office manager and businesses accused of plundering at least $10 million from funds marketed to Chinese investors in proposed facilities who are seeking visas under a program that rewards job-creating investments in the United States.  read more at

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

NES Financial Extends EB-5 Leadership Position

NES Financial announced today that it has entered into an agreement to provide its Intelligent EB-5 Solutions on a record 400th EB-5 project. Representing more than $16 billion in EB-5 capital, the company’s solutions have been used on more projects than any other solution on the market.

“The adoption of our EB-5 solutions in the market has continued to accelerate throughout 2015,” said Reid Thomas, NES Financial Executive Vice-President. “As the EB-5 market continues to become more mainstream, issuers understand the need for deploying solutions that provide the highest level of security, transparency, and compliance to all stakeholders.”

NES Financial’s suite of Intelligent EB-5 Solutions was designed specifically for EB-5 to streamline the entire process from start to finish. Whether utilizing select products or the entire bundle, each unique solution can help issuers increase efficiency, reduce risk, and meet USCIS guidelines and SEC and FINRA requirements. The current suite of solutions includes EB-5 Escrow Administration, EB-5 Fund Administration, EB-5 Loan Administration, and EB-5 Immigration Workflow.

One reason that issuers have been quick to adopt the solutions is because of the fact that overseas investors and agents recognize the importance that use of these solutions ultimately brings to immigration success. The NES Financial EB-5 Medallion Program is one way that these investors and agents can recognize which of the company’s clients and partners are committed to providing success throughout the process by committing to best practices of security, transparency, and compliance.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

ABG team to visit Miami and Orlando

ABG team will be attending the Family Office Super Summit in Miami November 30 through December 2 and visiting projects in Orlando Florida. 

SEC: Assets Frozen in Alleged Immigration Scam

(Source:SEC, Washington D.C., Nov. 19, 2015) The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced it has obtained a court order freezing the assets of a South Florida woman and her company accused of purchasing a boat and luxury cars with money she raised from investors seeking U.S. residency through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program.

Under the EB-5 program, foreign citizens may qualify for U.S. residency if they make a qualified investment of at least $500,000 in a specified project that creates or preserves at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers.  The SEC alleges that Lin Zhong and her company EB5 Asset Manager LLC raised at least $8.5 million for use by U.S. EB-5 Investments LLC in job-creating real estate development projects, but they diverted nearly $1 million to purchase a boat, a BMW, and a Mercedes among other improper personal uses of investor funds.

“We allege that Zhong promised investors their money would be used to develop real estate projects, but she misused their funds to enrich herself while making material misrepresentations and omissions to investors,” said Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office.

The SEC also obtained a court order appointing a receiver to administer and manage the business affairs and assets of the company and its subsidiaries for the protection of investors. According to the SEC’s complaint filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Lin Zhong, who also goes by the name Lily Zhong:
  • Investors were told that money they invested in U.S. EB-5 Investments LLC would be used for real estate development including a mixed-use commercial project planned for the City Center in Port St. Lucie, Fla. 
  • Zhong and EB5 Asset Manager diverted approximately $900,000 of those funds for unrelated personal uses that also included her own real estate taxes as well as education expenses for her family members.
  • Zhong and EB5 Asset Manager also made misrepresentations to investors about the use of U.S. EB-5 Investments’ funds and failed to disclose Zhong’s past failed real estate venture.
  • Investors were falsely told that U.S. EB-5 Investments would prepare and provide unaudited financial reports to investors.
  • Zhong and EB5 Asset Manager falsely claimed that certain investors’ funds would be held in escrow until the form filed by potential EB-5 investors to petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for immigration status received that agency’s approval.
  • Zhong and EB5 Asset Manager also made material omissions and false statements about conflicts of interest, and made false statements about the location of real estate development projects.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that Zhong and EB5 Asset Manager violated the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  Zhong has agreed to stipulate to the asset freeze and receiver following a lengthy hearing on the SEC’s motions when the court issued a separate order granting expedited discovery, prohibiting the destruction of documents, and requiring Zhong, EB5 Asset Manager, and relief defendants to provide the SEC and the court with a sworn accounting of their assets.

The SEC’s continuing investigation is being conducted by Shelly-Ann A. Springer-Charles and Margaret Vizzi in the Miami office, and the case is being supervised by Eric R. Busto.  The SEC’s litigation will be led by Alejandro Soto.  The SEC appreciates the assistance of the USCIS.

Ten Facts about EB-5 Immigrant Investor Fiscal Year 2015 Numbers

(Source: Bernard Wolfsdorf) USCIS released data for both I-526 immigrant investor petitions and I-829 applications to remove conditions for the Fiscal Year 2015 ending September 30, 2015. Here are some interesting facts:
  1. 6,575 petitions representing over $3.2 billion dollars of investments were filed in the last 3 months of FY 2015 from July 1, 2015-September 30, 2015.
  2. 17,367 petitions representing over $8.68 billion dollars of investments were pending as of September 30, 2015.
  3. A total of 8,756 petitions were approved in FY 2015 versus 4,925 in FY 2014, representing an increase of almost twice as many approvals. In 2008 there were 642 petitions approved.
  4. On the positive side only 1,051 I-526 petitions were denied representing an approval rate of 88%.
  5. In FY 2014, 1,169 petitions were denied and only 4,925 approved, therefore the denial rate dropped by almost 100%.
  6. Only 1,067 I-829 final applications to remove conditions were approved in FY 2015, which is far less than FY 2014 when 1,603 I-829 applications were approved.
  7. On the positive side, only 11 I-829 cases were denied in FY 2015 versus 1,067 that were approved representing a 99% approval rate.
  8. As of the end of FY 2015, there were 4,049 I-829 petitions pending, almost twice as many as in FY 2014, which had 2,075 pending.
  9. USCIS adjudication times continue to increase with I-526 average processing times reaching 14.4 months; I-829s reaching 15.4 months and I-924s at 11.6 months.
  10. The Regional Center program presently sunsets December 11, 2015.
Comment: The billions of dollars brought into the U.S. and thousands of jobs created by the EB-5 program, without costing tax payers one penny, is indisputable. Can Congress get its act together and simply extend the program and stop playing political football trying to decide whether this money goes to rural or urban projects? Trying to fleece immigrants by increasing the amount to $1.2 million and $800,000 for targeted employment/rural areas isn’t necessary. Congress should pass a multi-year extension and focus its efforts on the many critical problems our country faces.  Increasing the minimum investment amount retroactively and destroying billions of dollars of existing projects, is just plain bad policy. The U.S. admits almost 1 million immigrants annually, including 50,000 randomly selected by lottery. Why can’t the U.S. agree to continue to admit 3,500-4,000 immigrant investor families? Congress needs to take action and extend the program to 2019 and increase the EB-5 quota to 10,000 families, now.

FBI raids PhoenixMart HQ in Kierland AZ

The PhoenixMart headquarters was raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Thursday morning in northeast Phoenix. The news is now all over in Chinese social media. Read more at and PhoenixMart: 'We're open for business as usual' on Friday at

Thursday, November 19, 2015

EB-5 China update

December 11 is approaching, the EB-5 regional center will sunset if another authorization is not issued by the Congress. Hopefully the regional center program will get extended for another year so that investors in China can continue to be given a "good bargain" with investment opportunities in the U.S.  With the terrorist attacks in Paris and refugee flooding to Europe, many Chinese investors have a second thought about investing in Europe.  Due to so many uncertainties with the current legislation, investors are likely making quicker decisions when selecting an EB-5 project.  Projects with I-526 and/or I-924 approvals are popular in the market. Most migration agents are skeptical about taking on new projects at this point, they do not want to get stuck in the middle of legislative changes. To learn more about EB-5 program and ever-changing marketplace, call us today!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

NES Financial to sponsor China Private Equity Forum

NES Financial announces gold level sponsorship for China Private Equity Forum January 20th in Los Angeles. The China PE Forum will focus on attracting Chinese private equity into US Real Estate Investments. Direct investment from Chinese high net-worth individuals and private businesses are increasing due to China’s rapid economic growth during the past 15 years. Investors are looking overseas into major US cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago along with second tier cities such as Seattle, Boston, Washington DC and Miami, etc. for their next investment projects. Large Chinese Investment companies such as Fosun International, Wanda Group, China Vanke, Landsea, Greenland Group, Shenzhen Hazens and Xinyan have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars into major US real estate developments. China will increasingly play a major role in the US capital markets and present new opportunities to private equity firms.

NES Financial solutions meet the challenges of today’s constantly changing markets, shifting regulatory requirements, and increasingly complex operational ecosystems. The company brings together specialized sector expertise, proprietary technology, and a group of financial administration professionals to tailor innovative solutions for clients. NES Financial has repeatedly been named one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S., and clients include many of the world’s largest corporations, commercial real estate owners, developers, and major financial institutions.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

ABG to organize 2016 investment trade mission to China

Artisan Business Group is planning an investment business delegation to Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Foshan in Guangdong Province and Shanghai early March 2016. The trip will focus on private equity business and EB-5 program. Delegation will attend meetings and events organized by YingKe law offices and other major migration agencies. To learn more about the trade mission, please  contact us at

Sunday, November 15, 2015

WSJ: Real Estate and Green Cards: EB-5 Debate Heats Up in Washington

(Wall Street Journal) Congressional debate is heating up on the EB-5 immigration program, which allows foreigners who invest in job-creating projects to get green cards. In recent days, real estate industry executives received copies of draft legislation on a renewal of a key piece of the program, a key piece of which expires on Dec 11. The draft – supported by Sens. Charles Grassley and Patrick Leahy, would tack another four years onto the program, which grants 10,000 visas a year to immigrant investors and their families.

The draft contains language meant address many of the concerns over fraud and lax management that have been raised by many about the program – provisions likely to be widely supported. But the draft legislation also takes aim at the scores of developers of high-end real estate projects that have flooded into the program in recent years —an issue that has become the main sticking point in reforming EB-5 and is unlikely to go down without a fight.

Some quick background. The EB-5 program as created in 1990 to give green cards to investors who put in at least $1 million into business that create at least 10 jobs per investor. To aid rural and high-unemployment areas—viewed at the time as a way to steer investment to communities most in need of the investment—Congress created a special category that allows a $500,000 minimum. In recent years developers –largely in New York and other major cities—have dominated the program, qualifying as high-unemployment areas despite most of their projects being luxury towers in valuable neighborhoods.

The projects are able to qualify by creating special districts known as “targeted employment areas” that—with the blessing of state officials—connect the high-end developments with housing projects or other census tracts with high unemployment. While the practice has gone on for years, those seeking EB-5 for in rural and poorer areas say they are now being crowded out by the flashy projects because the program is now at capacity. The draft this week is the latest attempt to address this issue, which critics and the Obama administration have called an abuse, but developers have said creates jobs that might not otherwise be created.

Here’s some of the highlights of the draft, which would be less restrictive than an earlier bill by the two senators.

In order to qualify for the benefits of a high unemployment area, a project would need to be in or adjacent to a census tract with 150% of the national unemployment rate. This would be a change from the current rules that don’t specify the size of the area.The draft legislation would also allow projects in census tracts with a poverty rate of at least 20% to qualify-moving the program closer in line with another federal economic development program.

Manufacturing and government infrastructure projects would have their own categories, qualifying for the lower fundraising level, as would businesses in certain federally designated economic development zones.The general fundraising level would be raised to $1.2 million from $1 million and the lower level would be raised to $800,000 from $500,000.Four thousand of the 10,000 EB-5 visas would be set aside only for projects that qualify at the lower level, up from the 3,000 in the legislation today. (In practice, nearly all the 10,000 visas today are for the lower fundraising level because the bulk of the country can qualify as a “targeted employment area”).

Just what becomes of the text is unclear. While many leading executives in the EB-5 world have backed a compromise on the Targeted Employment Area issue, the draft legislation would be more restrictive. Other developers and their allies have insisted on policies that allow major cities to qualify for the same benefits as rural areas, saying many jobs are created outside prosperous neighborhoods.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Artisan meets emigration professionals in Shenzhen and Hangzhou

Artisan Business Group met with emigration professionals in Shenzhen and Hangzhou to further discuss EB-5 market and trends. Brian Su met with Worldway Group and Shinyway CEOs to discuss our client's projects and marketing efforts. The Chinese emigration market is constantly changing by the day and it is important to stay updated in Chinese market. For more information on Artisan Business market-entry advisory, contact us today at

Friday, November 13, 2015

Artisan team visits Yingke Shenzhen and Ruihua Certified Public Accountants

Artisan Business Group professionals continued their meetings in China in the town of Shenzhen. The Artisan team met with Yingke Law Firm (Shenzhen) and Riuhua Certified Public Accountants. Ruihua Certified Public Accountants is the largest accounting firm in China with over 10,000 licensed CPAs.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Yingke Chicago China Center & ABG hosts Chinese Realtor Luncheon

On November 10th, 2015, Yingke Chicago China Center & Artisan Business Group hosted a Chinese Realtor Luncheon. Over 70 professionals attended the luncheon in downtown Chicago inclduing a group of 35 Chinese realtors from across China. The Chinese realtors are members of China Alliance of Real Estate Agencies (CAREA), the largest private alliance of realtors in China representing 70% of the industry.

Urban Equality NOW Files Federal Lawsuit Seeking an End to TEA Gerrymandering

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESSWIRE)--Urban Equality NOW (UEN) today filed a lawsuit against both Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, and USCIS Director, Leon Rodriguez. The suit is asking a federal court to establish policies and procedures to ensure compliance from the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS to the Immigration and Nationality Act, with respect to immigrant investors and to uphold the law regarding Targeted Employment Areas (TEA’s) in the EB-5 Regional Center program. The program is up for reauthorization on December 11, 2015.

“TEAs must, by law, have unemployment rates at least 150 percent of the nation's unemployment rate. Yet, oddly drawn TEAs are readily accepted by USCIS in spite of the obvious gerrymandering involved,” says Angelica Martinez, Director for Urban Equality NOW. “This defeats the purpose of the program and allows projects to build in big money areas with low unemployment, such New York City’s 'Billionaire’s Row,' instead of in depressed areas that need the economic boost and jobs, which is what the program was intended for.”

The suit, filed by Michael E. Coles, Lead Attorney for The Coles Firm P.C., addresses the gerrymandering, an issue that has been much discussed in the media, head-on. “We are calling for an immediate halt to the misuse of the program, specifically the gerrymandering of the TEAs,” states Coles. “Only those collections of U.S. Census Tracts, wherein aggregate unemployment meets or exceeds the 150% threshold, should be granted applications.”

A Regional Center project in Laredo, Texas, is also cited in the suit, which UEN and Coles shows demonstrates the complete and utter lack of nexus between project location and its intended beneficiaries. “It is very unlikely that someone living in Brownsville is going to commute by driving four hours to the Laredo Convention Center. Yet the TEA that was submitted and accepted is that far-fetched,” continues Coles. “This is a perfect example of why the current TEA rules must be adjusted with significant reform.”

Monday, November 9, 2015

Brian Su visits Yingke Law Office

Artisan Business Group CEO, Mr. Brian Su, visited the law office of Yingke in Fo Shan, China to discuss future cooperation. Fo Shan is located in central Guangdong Province in southern China. Yingke Law Office has over 40 offices internationally and is one of Asia's largest law firm.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Overseas Investment & International Wealth Forum Pictures

The Overseas Investment and International Wealth Forum was hosted Nov 6-7 in Beijing. Over 200 emigration professionals from China attended the event. Check out some pictures of the conference below!