Friday, August 12, 2016

EB-5 Update in Chinese Market

Artisan Business Group has recently hosted nearly 30 migration agents for annual professional development training in Chicago, one of the major topics for discussion is the EB-5 market challenges and future trends in China. As Chinese high net worth and middle class families continue to show their desire to relocate to the US, emigration market in China will keep booming in next few years, however, market is not only growing but also rapidly changing.  

In the past year, Chinese government ordered its financial institutions to tighten up the outflow of foreign currency from individual banking customers in order to keep the nation's foreign currency reserves at an acceptable level. The strict measures forced many customers to exchange their RMBs into US dollars. Many customers have started thinking how to protect their dollars, investors are either purchasing real estate properties in Europe or investing through EB-5 immigrant investor program; some may even purchase offshore and US life insurance policies, last year HK's life insurance agencies sold billions of dollars worth of life insurance policies to the mainland Chinese. The weakening RMB is pushing more Chinese people to think about purchasing real properties in foreign markets such as Europe, the US, and even countries like Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

As US real estate markets in NYC, California, Washington, Texas and Florida are getting more popular to Chinese investors and buyers, EB-5 investor market in China is definitely slowing down for two main reasons: 1) USCIS' long processing time for I-526 approvals, almost everyone is complaining about their frustrations. 2) EB-5 quota backlog is another concerns for many potential investors. As a result of above mentioned issues, many Chinese migration agents turn their attention to real estate market which can help them make quick money, the most popular destinations are Irvine California and Seattle Washington, in addition to New York.  Some investors are also seeking alternatives such as L-1A/EB-1C visa program,  however the majority of clients would not fit in the program.  A few are then seeking for cheaper alternatives such as EB-3 visa program.

No matter how the market changes in China, people desire to come to US quickly without much strings attached, EB-5 program continues to be a perfect fit. Most of Chinese migration agents are not very concerned about the possible increase on investment amount from US$500k to $800K or even higher, as EB-5 program is the only easier and faster way for the majority of Chinese families who are eager to be in the US for the future of their children. The increased investment means more compensation for migration agents!

In regard to promoting and marketing new EB-5 projects in China, we see many gimmicks using former ambassador, former governor, former Congressman or retired mayors who are trying to help project developers for capital raise. Some projects are offering due diligence reports, insurances, and third party construction management services, and high pays to agents, etc.  (To be continued)

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