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.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Artisan Business Group to host 2014 China-US Energy and Natural Resources Investment Conference in Dallas

Artisan Business Group is to host the 2014 China-US Energy and Natural Resources Investment Conference in Dallas Texas October 22, 2014.  A good number of investment firms and executives from China are expected to attend the one day conference where US energy, oil and gas drilling, and mining executives will be exploring investment capital (private equity and EB-5 investment) 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. For more information about the event, contact us at artisanbusiness@gmail.com.

VIP 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. Brian Su, CEO, Artisan Business Group, Inc.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Former Immigration Attorney Accused Of Stealing $47M From Foreign Investors

(Source: CBSLA.com) A former immigration attorney from Los Angeles was charged Wednesday with running an investment scheme that bilked $47 million from foreign investors seeking permanent residency status in the United States. A federal grand jury in Santa Ana returned a nine-count indictment accusing Justin Moongyu Lee of stealing money from 94 foreign investors, partly using advertisements in foreign newspapers to solicit Korean and Chinese nationals to commit $500,000 each, plus another $40,000 for administrative and legal fees, in an immigrant investor program.

Lee guaranteed small annual returns on the investments, as well as green cards for foreign nationals but did not make the investments in the biofuel production facilities he promised and submitted fraudulent paperwork to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to the indictment. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have also filed a civil complaint in Los Angeles against Lee for the same alleged crimes. The indictment and lawsuit claim that Lee promised investors participation in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, which offers a chance for permanent residency status by investing in a domestic project to create or preserve jobs for domestic workers.

Both cases allege that the 57-year-old Hancock Park resident used investment money for his own use. The ethanol plant was never built, the promised jobs were never created and officials say the foreign nationals lost their opportunity to obtain permanent residency. The SEC case, which also names Lee’s wife, Rebecca Taewon Lee, and Thomas Edward Kent, alleges the trio raised nearly $11.5 million from two dozen investors seeking to participate in the EB-5 program. The SEC claims the Lees and Kent concealed their failure to generate the jobs required by the EB-5 program by submitting false documents to the USCIS.

The Lees allegedly misused several million dollars raised from the ethanol plant investors for other purposes, such as financing an iron ore project in the Philippines, an allegation that is repeated in the criminal indictment. Each of the nine wire fraud charges in the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. The State Bar of California has also taken disciplinary action against Lee because of an alleged major misappropriation of client funds, and he is no longer allowed to practice law, officials said. Lee is in custody in South Korea.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Register before it's too late: EB-5 Trade Mission Oct. 11-19th

Acquiring project funding can be a challenge, especially for new kids on the block. This is where we can help!  The 2014 EB-5 Business and Investment Exploration Delegation organized by Artisan Business Group will be traveling to the cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou in Southern China to meet with our established business partners in the region October 11-19, 2014. Our Trade Missions to China will continue to provide American businesses new access and comprehensive insight into the dynamic Chinese market - including its scale, diversity and potential. At Artisan Business Group, we promise expertise in identifying and setting appointments with business partners (including EB-5 emigration agents) that will meet your prospect criteria. We help our clients with developing insight into China's business culture and social etiquette. We do this to better avoid misunderstandings that could scuttle deals and harm working relationships. Attending a Trade Mission with us also carries the benefits of pre-mission assessment of the Chinese market, in-country briefings, travel logistics, group transportation, interpreters, day-by-day itinerary, and hotel accommodations.


For more information about our 2014 trade mission to China on October 11-19 please contact us at artisanbusiness@gmail.com. Don't delay, regular registration ends September 12th!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Report from China: new EB-5 market trend

Early this year we reported that large real estate developers from China start getting involved in developing EB-5 projects in the U.S. There are a number of sizable mix-use developments in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York. These projects led by Chinese developers  are partially funded by EB-5 program. Due to name recognition and their vast pool of wealthy buyers in China, such EB-5 projects are much easier for attracting Chinese investors. These developers have formed alliances with leading migration agents to assist their investor clients. Projects associated with well known Chinese developers are sold quickly.  

While large real estate developers enter major cities, we also see not-so-well-known real estate developers and privately held investment companies from China are also entering EB-5 market!  Seattle, Los Angeles, Houston and other smaller cities are very attractive to smaller Chinese developers. Mix-use and residential developments as well as senior housing projects are quite popular.  

To learn more about investment from China, join our October China trade mission, call us at 217-899-6661 or email artisanbusiness@gmail.com for further information.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

ABG team visits project in TN and CA

Artisan Business Group team is visiting new EB-5 projects in Tennessee and California.  Though market demand is strong, migration agents and investors are very selective to projects. To learn more how to promote new EB-5 projects, contact us at artisanbusiness@gmail.com

Thursday, August 28, 2014

WSJ: After Overwhelming U.S. Visa Program, Where Will China’s Emigrants Go Next?

(Source: Wall Street Journal) Wealthy Chinese hoping to move abroad have overwhelmed the immigration departments of the U.S. and Canada—their favorite destinations—this year. But will China’s rich who want a visa head elsewhere or will they hold out for the American dream? The answer, immigration experts say, is both. Australia, Europe and the Caribbean are emerging as destinations for China’s rich, while Chinese investors still keen on moving to the U.S. are told to expect wait times as long as five years for their visas. A U.S. State Department official told the Journal that the EB-5 program—which grants visas to those who invest $500,000 in a range of development projects—has hit its quota of 10,000 visas for the fiscal year and won’t receive new applicants until Oct. 1. Chinese applicants made up about 85% of the 10,000 visas granted under the program. It’s the first time in the program’s 24-year history that the quota has been reached.

Larry Wang, who owns immigration consultancy firm Well Trend United Inc. in Beijing, said the increased demand means longer processing times. Ten years ago, an EB-5 visa could be obtained in China in a few weeks, he recalled. Now, the approval process takes about two years. Mr. Wang tells new clients to expect between three to five years to obtain a EB-5 visa and forecasts delays will only get worse in the future. “For those who want to send their children to study in the U.S., we strongly advise them not to wait before the children get too old,” he said. 

In February, Canada shuttered its investor-immigration program, which granted visas to those who lent 800,000 Canadian dollars (US$734,245) interest-free to one of the country’s provincial governments. The government said the program didn’t bring enough economic benefit, “significantly undervalued” Canadian residency and promised a new investor immigration program would replace it, though none has yet been launched. At the time of the program closure, there were an estimated 48,000 applications made by mainland Chinese with the Canadian consulate in Hong Kong, and wait times were expected to be as long as five years. Those applications were canceled with the ending of the program. Some Chinese have tried to sue the government to have their visas processed, but the courts ruled against them. The long delay in U.S. visas and the shuttering of the Canadian program is driving many Chinese to seek alternative destinations. Australia is emerging as a landing spot for the extremely wealthy, after the country launched its Significant Investor Visa program in November 2012, which grants residency visas to those who put 5 million Australian dollars (US$4.7 million) into a government-approved investment. At the end of July,  88% of the 343 such visas granted were to mainland Chinese, representing a total of A$1.5 billion worth of committed investments.

Glenn Ferguson, an immigration lawyer in Sydney who is handling about 25 investor immigration cases for Chinese applicants, said a visa can be granted within three months there. “It’s relatively quick,”  he said. “Compared to other programs, it’s expensive, but so far, the cost hasn’t been an issue.” Gerry Power, director of business development at immigration consultancy Henley & Partners in Hong Kong, said his firm expects to see an uptick in business from Chinese looking for visas outside of the U.S. and Canada. Henley doesn’t promote the U.S. EB-5 program but instead steers its clients to more exotic locales like Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, St. Christopher & Nevis and Antigua, all of which grant residency visas to those who buy real estate in their countries.
“We should see more coming to us,” he said. “While we’ve seen a shift to the EB-5 program [after the Canadian program shut down], concurrently, we’ve also seen interest in residency programs like Portugal and Cyprus.” Portugal, for example, established a program in 2012 to grant residency permits to those who bought real estate worth at least 500,000 euros (US$659,000). As of July 31, 1,360 permits had been granted, of which 1,101, or 81%, were to Chinese citizens, according to country’s foreign affairs ministry. Back in Beijing, Mr. Wang says that while real-estate-for-visa programs like Portugal’s will appeal to some, Canada, the U.S. and Australia will always remain the top destinations, no matter how long the wait or cost. “The Chinese are still most interested in going to English-speaking countries. It’s the one language they want their kids to learn.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

China EB-5 Quota Retrogression Announced

(Source: Ron Klasko) On Saturday, August 23, 2014, the Department of State announced for the first time ever that the maximum number of EB-5 visas which may be made available for use by individuals born in mainland China had been reached for Fiscal Year 2014.  Although the announcement carries potentially significant implications for current and prospective mainland-born Chinese EB-5 investors, it nevertheless must be placed into context.

First, the quota unavailability only applies until September 30.  On October 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year, EB-5 numbers will again be available.  However, as we have indicated in our two recent blogs, we anticipate a much longer quota backlog, most likely beginning in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2014.  When that occurs, we anticipate the waiting list could exceed two years.

Second, the unavailability of EB-5 visas for the remainder of this fiscal year does not impact mainland-born Chinese EB-5 applicants whose petitions have been approved and who have already been scheduled for a visa interview at an overseas post based on the “Current” priority date for August and September 2014. These individuals have been allotted visa numbers for their potential use.  No additional immigrant visas will be made available to either so-called “comeback” applicants – that is, individuals  who had been interviewed by a consular officer and who were missing one or more documents and asked to return – or to individuals first requesting consular interviews.

Third, USCIS offices may continue accepting, processing and approving EB-5 petitions filed by Chinese applicants.  Upon approval, these petitions will be held in the Visa Office’s “Pending Demand” file until October 1, 2014 (the commencement of Fiscal Year 2015).  At that time, all pending eligible cases will be automatically authorized from the “Pending Demand” files under the Fiscal Year 2015 annual numerical limitation.

It is important to note two key limitations of the DOS’s announcement:
-         It does not affect the adjudication of I-526 and I-829 Petitions by USCIS;
-         It does not affect the processing or present availability of immigrant visas for individuals not born in China.

For more information on the impact of EB-5 quota retrogression for China, including the impact on children who reach the age of 21, please read our two blogs on this subject: “FAQs on EB-5 Quota Backlog” and “Chinese EB-5 Quota Retrogression – Part 2.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FAQs on EB-5 Marketing (Part IX)

The recent announcement on Visa quota unavailability for China investors has caused many concerns. However, the market responded very positively to the news.

1) What is the general responses from the market in China?
Generally speaking, potential investors has more interest in EB-5 than ever since many of them have been thinking and shopping around. The news may trigger them actually sign up with one of the projects in next few months.


2) What do the migration agents think about the news?
Most of the migration agents that already market EB-5 projects are stepping up on the marketing efforts.  Some of migration agents are switching to other international visa programs.


3) What are expected in the next six months?
More Chinese families will be seriously selecting projects that fit their needs, and they will make quicker decisions on investments.


4) Is it to late to promote our EB-5 projects? 
No it is never late to introduce new projects. In fact, this is the best timing.    


To learn more about EB-5 program and promote projects with our upcoming China trade mission, please call us at 217-899-6661 or email us at artisanbusiness@gmail.com   

Top-5 Chinese migration agent seeks new projects

One of the leading Top 5 Chinese migration agencies is seeking new EB-5 projects.  Considerations are open to all regional center projects that are seeking from $20 million to $100 million EB-5 funds.  The migration agency is a well known leader in EB-5 industry. Artisan Business Group has been requested for initial project selection. An executive summary must be emailed to artisanbusiness@yahoo.com by September 1, 2014.  Confidentiality is guaranteed. Inquires without project summary will not be responded.  The agency prefers to deal with project developers and Regional centers, no middle man.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Speakers announced for China-US Energy & Natural Resources Conference

 VIP Speakers and Panelists
Ms. Aijun Cheng, Director, Seidler Oil & Gas
Mr. Wei Long, Partner, Energy Invest & Consulting
Dr. Jerry Jieyuan Zhang, COO, DFG Energy Company
Mr. Tom Tong, Attorney, International Partner, Locke Lord LLP
Mr. Raymond Ku, Chairman, Westlead Capital Group
Mr. Brian Su, CEO, Artisan Business Group, Inc.

The 2014 China-US Energy and Natural Resources Investment Conference will be hosted in Dallas, Texas on October 22, 2014. The US energy and natural resource industry is one of the fastest growing opportunities in the world. Chinese investment companies and individual investors see the opportunities for future cooperation. A good number of investment firms and executives from China are expected to attend the one day conference where US energy, oil and gas drilling, and mining executives will be exploring investment capital (private equity and EB-5 investment) and JV partnership opportunities with its’ Chinese counterparts. More Speakers will be announced soon. Register online here to sign up for the event.