It is our opinion that the EB-5 visa is the best option for investors looking to immigrate to the United States. The EB-5 program was created in 1992 in an effort to stimulate foreign investment and job creation in the United States. In brief, the EB-5 program provides permanent residency to foreigners who invest at least $1 million (approx. 30 million THB) into an American commercial enterprise and create at least 10 full time jobs (at least 35 hours per week) directly associated with the investment. In certain Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), rural areas or areas with high unemployment, the minimum investment is only $500,000 (approx. 15 million THB).
Permanent residency will also be available to the investor’s spouse and children under the age of 21.
The EB-5 investor visa is available through two channels. An investor can invest directly into a new or existing company, or can invest into an ‘EB-5 regional center’, which pools investments from many different investors into a single project. The following is a list of benefits to investing directly into a business rather than through a Regional Center:
*Greater number of options – Regional Centers tend to invest into a very small number of industries, which may or may not be of interest to a foreign investor. By investing directly into a U.S. company or starting a new U.S. company, the investor can invest into virtually any legal business, as long as the minimum investment and the minimum number of jobs requirements are met.
*Business control – by investing directly into a company the investor maintains control over his/her investment, rather than relinquishing it to a third party. With a direct investment, the final decision-making power remains with the investor.
* Active involvement – some investors prefer to be involved in the day-to-day operations management of a business and being the creative driving force behind its growth, which only a direct investment would allow them to do, while still having the option to relieve themselves of these duties and assign them to us at any time.
*Higher returns – investing directly into a business gives the investor the opportunity for significantly higher returns, both in the short and long-term. The typical regional center offers only 2-3% returns on an investment and keeps the remainder. By investing directly into a business there is no limit to the recurring revenue stream and the long-term asset appreciation that the investor will be able to capture.
*Lower cost – most regional centers charge a premium over and above the minimum capital requirement set by the USCIS in order to cover their marketing costs. However, with a direct investment through us, the investor is only going to put in the minimum amount required by the USCIS, immediately saving tens of thousands of dollars.
*Tangible asset – by investing into a Regional Center an investor often gets shareholder rights in a large organization with lots of other competing interest. Moreover, the shares may not convey any actual ownership interest in the underlying asset. However, with a direct investment there is no confusion regarding what was actually acquired.
* Reduced risk – a direct investment into a small business usually carries a lower level of risk than an investment into a Regional Center for a lot of reasons. Large projects that require pooling many investors are by definition more complex and have more potential pitfalls than a small and simple business. Moreover, if the Regional Center does not create enough jobs, the investors will not get the Green Card. If the Regional Center does not solicit enough capital, the project may not get off the ground at all, while still incurring costs, thereby losing the money of the initial investors. An existing business with an established track record and current employees provides a much safer path to EB-5 immigrant status than a large Regional Center.
* Global business diversification – for those investors who already have an existing business in their home country, an investment into the U.S. may also serve the purpose of creating a new subsidiary of their existing company and diversifying its risks geographically. Alternatively, the new U.S. entity could become the global headquarters while the business in the investor’s home country becomes the subsidiary. Doing so will increase the overall value of the business, including the existing business in the investor’s home country. Moreover, by creating such a global company, the investor is likely to have new access to cheaper U.S. capital for business expansion, new distribution channels, and partnership opportunities, as well as building on existing experience in a particular business field.
* Expand business network – by investing directly into a business, an investor has the opportunity to expand his/her business network and utilize potential synergiesbetween his/her businesses in the U.S. and back in his/her home country. Intoday’s globalized economy, there are always opportunities for an internationally minded investor to reap the benefits of connecting two different economies.