Choosing the right regional centre is the first step to an effective US immigration process, says Rogelio Caceres
The US has been a preferred destination for education, work, business and ranks high on the personal choice for migration amongst Indian families. Though there are many visa options available, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program has taken the centrestage more recently.
The regional centres (RC) are a USCIS approved private or public entity that facilitates the process for the investor and ensures that the capital invested creates jobs and promotes economic growth. The best way to choose the right centre depends on:
Define Your Goal: The EB5 Investors mainly focus on three goals: Will I get my Green Card; Will my investment be safe and how will I get my money back. Occassionaly there will be an investment that will provide a safe and secure way of generating marginally higher returns on that investment along with delivering the 3 key goals.
The outcome of all of them depends on your choice of the regional centre and the project they are offering. It is highly recommended that an investor must carefully evaluate the project, closely monitor the EB-5 investments and cautiously select the appropriate regional centre to minimize risks and losses. One can browse through the USCIS website for designated regional centres.
Track Record of the Regional Centre: Before investing in a project and joining hands with a regional centre, an investor must conduct proper due diligence. The investor must evaluate all aspects of the RC’s history. Consider their pedigree, investment philosophy, their history of approvals, feedback of existing clients among other key aspects of their functioning including key deliverables for the investor through out the process.
Project Due Diligence: The EB5 investments could be across sectors like real estate, hospitality, education, manufacturing, etc. It is essential to know where your money will be invested by the RC. If a project is not able to create enough jobs or complete construction or remain commercially sustainable, then one or more of your key goals (Green Card, Safety of Principal, Return of Capital) may be at risk.
Inspecting a business’ history, understanding it’s commercial viability, investment timeline and cycle, dependency on external funds, pedigree of the project developer, stage of construction, collaterals and guarantees negotiated by the regional center are some of the key aspects that should be taken into account.
Meet the Team: Humans do business based on trust. When you're making a significantly large investment decision it's important that you build trust, faith and lay out the rules of engagement with your partner — regional centre.
The team assisting management process of your investment plays a vital role and should comprise of individuals who specialise in employment-based and EB-5 investment immigration work. They should be well-versed with the rules and regulations of both the US and your home country.
Understand the Exit Strategy: As per USCIS data, between three-five applications are disapproved because of missing documents, issues with the source of funds, information on the petition, improper fee payments or something that has gone wrong with the project where you’ve invested.
If USCIS rejects your application, your money will be transferred from the escrow account back into your own, however one must understand the terms and conditional revolving such a return of capital. If an EB-5 application is approved, your transferred funds will be invested for the development of your chosen project. However, not all Regional Centres provide a clear path of return of the capital investment.
Ultimately, choosing the right regional centre is a step towards the efficacious immigration process.