Closed military bases present EB-5 opportunity
The closing of a military base can devastate a community. The loss of jobs can be so great at times that the community suffers greatly. But an EB-5 regional center has taken an innovative approach to such a situation.
The California Military Bases Export regional center (CMB) focuses on the redevelopment of closed military bases and the surrounding area in Sacramento, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties in California using investments from the EB-5 visa program.
The EB-5 program was established in 1990 and is a unique way for foreign nationals to earn their U.S. green card. If a foreigner invests $1 million in a U.S. business and that investment causes the creation, or the preservation, of 10 jobs, the investor becomes green card eligible. The program offers a “win-win” scenario for investors and businesses, the former receiving a green card and the latter getting funds to help their company.
In 1993, regional centers were added to the EB-5 visa program. These private entrepreneurs, corporations or government agencies direct and manage investments for foreign nationals and can be helpful for investors who are less familiar with American businesses. Many participants in the EB-5 program have taken advantage of these regional centers. Indeed, according to the Association to Invest in America, 90 percent of EB-5 investments are handled by regional centers.
Only a $500,000 investment is required in some areas and regional centers. These zones, called Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), have a higher unemployment rate than the national average and as such are more anxious to add jobs so the investment threshold is lower.
CMB operates in a TEA and because of this has a lot of opportunities to create jobs to help satisfy the requirement for EB-5 investors. According to CMB’s website, California has lost 187,000 jobs from military base closures, and while that number is discouraging it also may indicate a vacuum for job growth. By focusing on the rebuilding of the infrastructure in these communities, CMB will be well positioned to create jobs down the line.
The CMB regional center provides another bonus for investors, namely that the federal government shares some of their goals. Both CMB and the government are aiming to redevelop areas affected by military base closures. These areas can enjoy a fair amount of government oversight, according to CMBs website. They also can receive funds from local, state and national government.
Investing in the EB-5 program, whether with a regional center or without, has proved to be a reliable route to a U.S. green card.