Demographics

Demographics documents

CTIP Profile Part II
Document

CTIP Profile Part III
State of New Jersey and Passaic county

CTIP Profile Part IV
Paterson City, New Jersey

CTIP Profile Part V
Economic Development Program

EB-5 Regional Economic Development Program

Program Overview

Congress created the fifth employment-based preference (EB-5) immigrant visa category in 1990 for qualified foreigners seeking to invest in a business that will benefit the U.S. economy and create or save at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. It is Section 203(b) (5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The basic amount required to invest is $1 million, although that amount is reduced to $500,000 if the investment is made in a rural or high unemployment area (i.e. “Targeted Employment Area (TEA)”). Of the 10,000 EB-5 green cards available each year, 3,000 are reserved for foreign nationals who invest through a Regional Center.  USCIS estimates that approximately 90+% of EB-5 visas are based on Regional Center investments.

EB-5 Regional Center Economic Development Program

To encourage foreign investment in the U.S. economy through the EB-5 category, Congress created an EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program (“the Program”) in 1992.  By so doing, Congress permitted the U.S. federal immigration agency (then “Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)” which became “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)” in 2003) to designate qualified applicants as “Regional Centers,” eligible to accept EB-5 capital for economic development in the United States.  A Regional Center is a private enterprise/corporation or a regional governmental agency with a targeted investment program within a defined geographic region. The Regional Center Program in many ways mirrors long active and successful investment-employment based programs in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and other foreign nations.

The Regional Center Investment Program allocates 3,000 green cards each year for people who invest in designated Regional Centers. The 3,000 is not a limit, just the amount reserved specifically for Regional Center based investments. The Program has been renewed several times, and is currently due to expire September 30, 2015.

The EB-5 Regional Center Program does not require that the foreign investor’s enterprise itself directly employ 10 U.S. workers.  Instead, it is enough if 10 or more jobs will be created directly or indirectly as a result of the investment. The Regional Center Investment Program aids foreign investors by directing and professionally managing their investment in the designated business and geographic focus of their Regional Center.

A Regional Center obtains its designation by submitting a detailed application to USCIS. The application must state: (1) the kinds of businesses that will receive capital from investors; (2) the jobs that will be created directly or indirectly as a result of the investment of capital; and (3) the other positive economic impacts that will result from the investment of capital. The investment offering itself is subject to U.S. securities laws, enforced by state securities regulators and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

Once USCIS has approved a Regional Center application, an investor seeking an EB-5 green card through the Program must make the qualifying investment (i.e., $1 million or $500,000) within an approved Regional Center. However, the requirement of creating at least 10 new jobs is met by a showing that as a result of the new enterprise, such jobs will be created directly or indirectly.

Before an investor can participate in a Regional Center’s EB-5 investment program, each investor must independently petition USCIS for an EB-5 visa.  USCIS solely determines whether the investor qualifies for the EB-5 visa.  USCIS’ diligence includes a full background check, including detailed review of the sources of the investor’s funds (to confirm its lawful origin), family history, and other representations of the head of household and his immediate family member under the age of 21.

As with the regular EB-5 program, qualified investors investing through a Regional Center first receive a conditional green card valid for two years. At the end of that time the investor files another application with USCIS showing that their money was “at risk” during the two-year period and that the jobs have been created. Once those applications have been approved, the investor and his immediate family become permanent green card holders and can later apply to become U.S. citizens. For investors, the whole EB-5 process takes approximately 3-5 years or longer depending upon the timeliness, quality and validity of the investor’s submissions.

Legal Materials

  • Immigration and Nationality Act § 203(b)(5)
  • 8 Code of Federal Regulations § 204.6
  • 8 Code of Federal Regulations § 216.6

Why Support the EB-5 Program?

1. Since FY2005, it has attracted over $4.7 Billion in foreign direct investment, accounting for the creation of over 95,000 American jobs – all at no cost to the taxpayer;

2. With over 3,200 immigrant investor petitions filed in the first six months of FY2013, the Program is well on its way to another recording breaking year of economic contribution to the U.S.;

3. There are currently almost 6,000 pending immigrant investor applications pending with the federal government – awaiting on decisions upon which almost $3.0 Billion waits, ready for infusion into the U.S. economy for the purposes of U.S. job creation;

4.  It has a history of strong bipartisan support, passing unanimously in the Senate and 412-3 in the House in the 112th Congress – and promptly signed into law by President Obama;

5.  The Program is versatile, allowing diverse industry sectors to put EB-5 capital to work in projects that transform regional economies – including: assisted-living, commercial real estate, construction, education, energy, entertainment, infrastructure, healthcare, hospitality, logistics, manufacturing, transportation, and more;

6.  Over 95% of EB-5 investment capital is invested in “targeted employment areas” that are experiencing high unemployment or are considered rural – thereby making traditional sources of financing more expensive and difficult to come by;

7.  The Program has become a reliable and vital source of capital for local economies – rural and urban;

8.  Failure to make the U.S. permanently open for immigrant investors would result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of American jobs over the next several years, at a time when capital investment is needed more than ever in the U.S.;

9.  The U.S. is in fierce competition for immigrant investor capital around the world. The EB-5 Program can be most effective with strong support from Congress and reliable processing from USCIS that protects the integrity of the Program (through enforcement and inter-agency collaboration) AND is commercially reasonable and predictable.

Resources

Website for the CIS Ombudsman Office within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for helping individuals and employers resolve issues with and make recommendations on systemic fixes to USCIS to improve quality of service. Website: www.dhs.gov
Website for the SelectUSA Initiative by the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration - which seeks to promote foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. Website: www.selectusa.commerce.gov
Website for U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the bureau responsible for unemployment statistics within the U.S. Department of Labor. Website: www.bls.gov
Website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for administration of the EB-5 Program. Website: www.uscis.gov
Website for the U.S. Department of State's Visa Office, in charge of issuing visas as U.S. consulates abroad. Website: www.travel.state.gov
Website for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in charge of enforcing U.S. securities and financial transaction laws. Website: www.sec.gov
Website designed to educate and serve the needs of individual investors. Website: www.investor.gov
Webpage, listing standard set of questions for investors to ask when considering an investment opportunity. Website: www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/askquestions.html