By Lee Y. Li, Policy Analyst, IIUSA
Congress created the EB-5 Regional Center Program in 1992 with the goal of promoting regional economic growth through foreign direct investment from qualified EB-5 investors. After 28 yeas, EB-5 Regional Centers across the country have facilitated over $33 billion capital investments from foreign investors, supported hundreds of thousands of American jobs, and created a robust and positive impact on the U.S. economy. After the 28-year-long development, what does the EB-5 Regional Center industry look like in 2019? What are the biggest trends of the Regional Center industry that the stakeholders should be aware of? We prepared this in-depth analysis of the Regional Center statistics that IIUSA has collected in the last few years to shed light on these important questions.
The Growth of EB-5 Regional Centers Between 2008 and 2019
As of September 16, 2019, there were 822 EB-5 Regional Center listed on U.S Citizenship & Immigration Services’ (USCIS) website. Although the number of approved Regional Centers was down from 880 in December 2018, the EB-5 Regional Center industry has demonstrated tremendous growth in the last 12 years. In fact, as illustrated by Figure 1, there were less than 50 EB-5 Regional Centers in 2008; while the number of approved Regional Centers reached its all-time high in 2018 with outstanding growth of 2,490% in ten years. Particularly, the industry experienced the biggest growth between 2012 and 2016 with nearly 750 new Regional Centers approved within that 5-year period.
Approved EB-5 Regional Centers by State Served
The 822 approved Regional Centers serve 49 states in the U.S. plus the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories (Commonwealth of Northern Marianas, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands). In particular, the 10 states with the largest number of EB-5 Regional Centers include California (203 Regional Centers), New York (112), New Jersey (87), Florida (75), Texas (73), Pennsylvania (70), Washington (62), Connecticut (59), Nevada (32), and Georgia (30). As Map 1 visualizes, states on the east coast and the west coast have the most EB-5 Regional Centers.