EB5 Regional Center Proposal
Proposing a regional center project is attractive to many business people, as it can help attractEB-5 immigrant investors, who get a green card out of the deal if all goes well. However, without the proper preparation and guidance, getting your project approved as a regional center can be difficult and time-consuming. You may have to wait over three years to hear back about your EB5 regional center proposal. In 2000, INS made decisions on five regional center proposals, and all were denied or asked to make alternations. These decisions were accompanied by additional requirements for projects hoping to obtain regional center status.
However, if you approach your EB5 regional center proposal with the right team of experts who help you meet all requirements, the benefit of establishing a regional center and attracting EB-5 investors is likely to pay off. An immigration lawyer with business experience can help guide you through the process and avoid setbacks, assisting you as you file your EB5 regional center proposal with the California Service Center.
According to the Neufeld Memo issued by USCIS on December 11, 2009, in order for a regional center proposal to be approved, the regional center “must provide a framework within which individual alien investors affiliated with the regional center can satisfy the EB-5 eligibility requirements and create qualifying EB-5 jobs.” EB5 regional center proposals must also demonstrate how the regional center will “promote economic growth through increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, or increased domestic capital investment” (8 C.F.R. 204.6(m)(3)(i)).
Regional Center Proposal Criteria
According to Congress, as of 2002, regional centers must provide the following information in proposals to be approved:
- Provide details regarding the investment opportunities you will provide to EB5 investors, detailing these projects and explaining how they will assist the local economy, while allowing investors to meet the requirements of the EB-5 investor visa program.
- Explain the structure of your regional center, and how you and your staff will monitor EB5 investments.
- Define the geographic area in which your regional center will operate (define the TEA in which your regional center will operate if you plan to attract EB-5 investments of $500,000).
- Describe your plan for creating economic growth within this area.
- Predict how the regional center will create direct and indirect jobs within the area. These jobs must be considered full-time, and the positions must have the potential of existing for at least two years, in order to allow immigrant investors to qualify for EB5 green cards.
- Discuss how you will impact the economy beyond the scope of your employees; for example, will your regional center boost income or cause an increase of construction on a regional or national level?
- Describe how you will advertise your regional center to attract EB-5 immigrant investors.
When you submit a proposal for a new regional center, you will not be able to predict the exact effects of your project on the region, nor will you be able to determine exactly how many direct and indirect jobs the regional center will create. However, USCIS requires accurate predictions, formed using trusted econometric systems, and the guidance of financial experts and your immigration lawyer or immigration attorney.
Approved Regional Center Accountability
Keep in mind that once your EB5 regional center proposal is approved, you must adhere to the standards set in your proposal to avoid investigation. USCIS can legally monitor regional center performance and adherence to proposed plans by requesting annual information, such as:
- How the regional center operates.
- The number of EB-5 applicants who have invested in the project, and how much they have invested.
- The number of EB5 investors who have applied to remove the conditions from their green cards after participating in the EB-5 program by investing in your regional center.
- The number of jobs created as a result of EB-5 investments in your regional center.
- Contact information and other details about each of your regional center EB5 investors.
You can reassure EB-5 participants that since your regional center has already been approved, the USCIS is unlikely to launch an investigation of the project with every new EB5 investor, as long as the paperwork you submit with each new investor does not indicate any major changes.
In order to avoid jeopardizing the permanent resident status of your EB5 investors, as well as your project’s status as a regional center, report any significant changes regarding your regional center business plan, employment creation details, and economic impact statistics to your immigration attorney. If your regional center undergoes any significant changes, you must report them and request an amendment, or USCIS may conduct its own investigation of the regional center.
Talk to an immigration lawyer with business experience about creating the optimal regional center to succeed using foreign EB-5 investment.
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