Too many Regional Centers – How do I choose?
There are over 150 Regional Centers (RC) that have received designation (approval) from the USCIS with variety of projects from developing hotels, assisted-living and nursing homes, mixed-use office and residential facilities, agricultural cooperatives, and commercial and developmental loans. Due to the dramatic increase of the approved RCs within the past 2-3 years from 25 to over 150, many RCs do not have the track record of success let alone any real projects that is “shovel” ready – able to begin immediately or already in progress.
Just because EB-5 program has an immigration benefit, you should not invest a large sum of money ($500,000 or $1, million) in a project that will not even give you any assurance that the project will be able to produce enough to remove the condition on your temporary green card. You do not want to be in a situation where the whole principal investment amount is lost due to the project going bankrupt as well as losing your green card because the business of the RC failed and did not create the jobs required. Therefore, you, as the potential investor, must review the details of the RC and the projects within each RC to verify the viability of the project for investment purposes as well as whether the project will meet the EB-5 green card requirements. You should treat EB-5 investment as any other investment you make – you should get your money’s worth.
Beware of the agents that are promoting RCs that do not have any real projects or any track record of approval.
Most of the emigration agents purporting to help the EB-5 investors are, in reality, sales agents for a particular or multiple RCs. Thus, they only emphasize the good points of their RCs without knowing the business details of the projects or providing the direct comparisons of how their projects are better than others.
If they are truly informed of numerous RCs and are looking out for the investor’s interest rather than just procuring the most amount of the agent fees, then they should be able to provide you with a list of RCs that could minimize the risk of losing $500,000 or more in investment principal and making sure that you and your family will receive the permanent green card, not just the temporary conditional green card. Ask the following questions:
- Job creation is the key to making your Green Card permanent – is the job creation methodology used sound?
- Where did the regional center obtain there T.E.A. designation from?
- How secure is my money? What is my money being used for?
- What is the track record of the RC? How many I-526 and I-829 petitions and approvals?
- How is the RC proposing to return your investment after I-829 approval? – Definite exit strategy exists and is in writing in the offering memorandum.
- Did the RC repay any of the earlier investors?
- Will the RC refund all the money, if I-526 is denied? Will they refund both principal and syndication fee or just principal amount? Is this also in writing?
- Are there any institutional or non-EB-5 investors investing in the project? What is the portion of each investor?
- Have any of the regional center principals, their advisers, or anyone connected with the project ever had any negative findings or business failures I should know about?