(Wednesday, 25 April)
by Brent Raymond, executive director, Great North Regional Center and vice president, Mount Snow
Our EB-5 investors are from around the world and from differing backgrounds, but they have similar goals and aspirations. Many seek greater economic opportunities, while the goals of others are to obtain a first-class education for themselves or their children. Some are motivated by uncertainty in their home country or living elsewhere as an expat, whether it be political, economic or even the limitations of a visa program that requires regular renewals. An EB-5 regional centre provides a very flexible visa opportunity for individuals and their families. Its privileges, for those who can afford it, are significant.
The EB-5 visa program was established in 1990 to promote commercial investment in the United States by granting visas in exchange for foreign investments of $1m or $500,000 in rural or economically depressed regions of the United States. In 1993, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program and established EB-5 regional centres. Regional centres are business entities that receive special designation from United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to pool and administer EB-5 investments and create direct, indirect and induced jobs. Two important advantages of regional centre projects are investors do not have to directly manage the new business and job creation includes indirect jobs.
The EB-5 visa has no requirements regarding language skills, age, professional training, or specialized education and experience. It provides a direct track to permanent visa status not only for the investor but also his or her spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. Since an EB-5 regional centre project does not require an investor to directly manage the business, investors are free to pursue other business, educational or personal endeavours. Applicants do not need a family or employer sponsor and are not limited by specific treaty nations.
Investors and their family are entitled to the same educational benefits as a US citizen once they establish residency. Grade school children are able to attend public school for free or attend a private school without an additional education visa. The investor and their family members may be eligible to pay significantly reduced tuition at a private or public university since they are a US resident – not an international student. After high school, college or graduate school is completed, they are eligible for the same employment and professional opportunities as any other US resident.
Employment and residency
When an EB-5 visa is obtained, it grants access to one of the richest countries in the world. It allows immigrants to live anywhere in the United States, to start a business or work for a company without any additional visa requirements or time constrictions. At the same time, it allows visa holders to maintain overseas business interests and to travel to other countries as long as US residency criteria are maintained.
The EB-5 visa is an excellent immigration solution for those who possess the financial resources to qualify. Its benefits are immeasurable. It provides a direct method to become a permanent US resident, and obtain all of the freedoms and opportunities of living in the United States. Our investors include those who chose it for their entire family, some who chose it just for themselves and others who wanted to make an investment in their children’s future.