The Employment Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) Visa program is estimated to have raised $8.6 billion and created at least 57,300 jobs since 1990. The program has three basic requirements: (1) investment in a “new commercial enterprise” (NCE) (2) of at least $1,000,000 (or $500,000 in a TEA) (3) that results in the creation of at least 10 new full-time jobs. Additionally, in a Direct EB-5 Project, the investor is required to take an active enough role in the business that he has at least a policy-making position, such as a general or limited partner. Please refer to USCIS Government Website (www.uscis.gov/eb-5)for more information on the program. The purpose of the EB-5 program is to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by offering immigrant investors the benefits of permanent residency in the United States.
Targeted Employment Area (TEA) designations are available from state agencies. If the project owner has a TEA designation it means the area where the project is locatedqualifies for a reduced investment capital of $500,000 instead of 1 million.This is because the investment is made in a TEA. In urban areas, TEAs must have an unemployment rate 150% greater than the national unemployment rate.
Approximately 10,000 visa numbers are allocated annually to EB-5 investors. USCIS reserves 3,000 EB-5 visas for aliens who invest directly in TEAs and 3,000 for aliens who invest in commercial enterprises affiliated with Regional Centers.
An EB-5 Regional Center is a private organization approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that facilitatesinvestments for EB-5 investors. The major advantage of going through a Regional Center is that they can take advantage of indirect job creation (if the project creates indirect jobs).
Indirect jobs as those held by persons who work outside the company you invest in. Examples are equipment manufacturers and services used by a commercial enterprise.
Direct jobs are those held by persons who work within the company you invest in. Examples are equipment operators and clerks.
You may have heard of why regional centers are more advantageous. However, buyer beware that regional centers are the ones saying that. Sure, regional centers may be safe, but are they safer than direct investments? This will have to depend on the project!