EB-5 News Archive for August, 2010
The U.S. Justice Department has filed a new immigration lawsuit against Arizona over whether a group of community colleges violated the civil rights of prospective workers.
According to the Justice Department, by making potential workers fill out more paperwork than is required by law to prove that they are eligible to work in the U.S. the schools violated the Immigration and Nationality Act, reports the Washington Post.
The anti-discriminatory provision in that law “makes it unlawful to treat authorized workers differently during the hiring process based on their citizenship status,” Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for Justice’s Civil Rights Division, told the news source.
Specifically the Justice Department is accusing Maricopa Community Colleges of discriminating against nearly 250 noncitizen job applicants by requiring them to produce their green cards and other auxiliary documents, proving their work eligibility.
The Justice Department had sued the state of Arizona earlier this year over its controversial immigration law.
Those who participate in the EB-5 visa program, which offers potential green card eligibility in return for a $1 million (or in some areas, $500,000) investment, may not have to worry about such requirements.
There are many EB-5 investment opportunities throughout the country and there are some very good ones in the state of Georgia.
The EB-5 visa program gives foreign nationals a chance to earn their U.S. green cards by investing $1 million (or in some areas, $500,000) in an American business. If that investment leads to the creation or preservation of 10 jobs, the investor becomes green card eligible.
EB-5 regional centers help direct and manage these foreign investments and can be any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment,” according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
The Atlanta EB-5 Regional Center, the Georgia Center for Foreign Investment and Development and the Georgia-based America’s Center for Foreign Investment are the three EB-5 regional centers operating within the Peach State, according to the USCIS.
These regional centers offer an array of EB-5 investment opportunities in a diverse selection of industries such as education, health services, agriculture and tourism.
The South Korean ambassador to America recently made a visit to East Lansing to make a speech at Michigan State University, and spoke briefly about the EB-5 visa program.
Han Duk-soo focused largely on the proposed U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement, saying that it would help create jobs for Americans, reports the Lansing State Journal.
The news provider was able to catch up with the ambassador, asking him what the EB-5 visa program, and Lansing’s EB-5 regional center, in particular, meant for South Korean investors.
“This green card [program] would be very beneficial for Korean businesses to do their business in a more stable and sustainable way,” Duk-soo said.
The EB-5 visa program allows foreign nationals to earn U.S. green cards if they invest $1 million (or in some areas, $500,000) in an American business and that investment results in the creation or preservation of 10 jobs. EB-5 regional centers help to direct and manage these foreign investments.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, 903 South Koreans earned their U.S. green card through the EB-5 visa program in fiscal 2009, representing the second most EB-5 investors, behind only China.
An EB-5 regional center in Washington state has obtained millions in funding for a senior living community, according to the Northern Light.
The Whatcom Opportunity Regional Center (WORC) in Whatcom County, Washington, recently unveiled the new $7.8 million Correll Common in Ferndale, which is being funding by foreign investment in the EB-5 visa program.
The EB-5 visa program was started in 1990 to help attract foreign investment to American businesses. If a foreign national invests $1 million in a U.S. business and that investment results in the creation or preservation of 10 jobs then he or she becomes eligible for a U.S. green card.
EB-5 regional centers were established shortly after the original program was created to help direct and manage foreign investment. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), these centers can be “any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment.”
Some regional centers, like the WORC, are located in what are termed Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), which are defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average,” according to the USCIS website. What distinguishes TEAs from other parts of the country in terms of the EB-5 visa program is that only a $500,000 investment is needed from the foreign national.
Diane Kamionka, a spokeswoman for the WORC, told the news source that the EB-5 regional center decided to develop the senior center because not only is the area’s largest industry elder care services, but 30 percent of Whatcom County’s population is over 60.
The WORC is also partnering with the Northwest Economic Development Council’s Innovation Resource Center (IRC) to help young businesses gain access to funding.
Kamionka said that the county’s unique economy makes the work done by the IRC important.
“Generally speaking, in a county or an economy of this size, we don’t have any one industry that merits the overhead cost dedicated to having any one accelerator group but we have multiple industries that are important to the county so what we’ve done is create the IRC which will coordinate those services,” she told the news provider.
The WORC’s chair, John Wynstra, said the EB-5 regional center has plans to develop two more senior centers in the area in the next few years.
A significant portion of the funding for an Illinois sports complex is expected to come from foreign nationals who invest in the EB-5 visa program.
According to the Northwest Herald, developers for the 165-acre McHenry County Sportsplex in Lakewood, Illinois, have received commitments for $36 million from the Chicagoland Foreign Investment Group (CFIG), an EB-5 regional center.
The project is expected to cost $40 million. The remaining funding is expected to come from private equity, grants the Lakewood Village Board hopes to get and revenue sharing, reports the news source.
The EB-5 visa program was established to help American businesses attract foreign investment. If a foreign national invests $1 million in a U.S. business and that investment results in the creation or preservation of 10 jobs, the investor becomes eligible for a U.S. green card.
EB-5 regional centers were created to help direct and manage foreign investments. These centers can be public or private entities. Some areas that regional centers operate in, like Lakewood, are designated as Targeted Employment Areas. These areas are defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average,” according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The advantage of investing in such an area is that only a commitment of $500,000 is required.
Jack Porter, the project manager for the Sportsplex, said that because the project is being financed through the EB-5 visa program there is no need to worry about debts from banks, which helps.
“When we don’t have a debt, it makes it a lot easier to run,” he told the news provider. “It makes the chances for survivability and profitability [greater].”
Taher Kameli, the executive director of the EB-5 regional center, said that he believes that CFIG will have the funds it promised by the end of next year.
Kameli cited the $8.5 million CFIG raised in three months for the Aurora Memory Care Center assisted living facility as an example of the EB-5 regional center’s ability to produce funding.
“Based on my experience, I don’t see any issues to raising these funds,” he told the news source.
While many of the investors will not end up living in McHenry County, their investments will help the area, according to Kameli.
“Not many of the investors will live in McHenry County. They may live somewhere else in the U.S.,” he told the Herald. “But their money creates jobs in McHenry County. That’s what residents should care about.”