RCBJ Retrospective: How IIUSA is Helping to Strengthen New EB-5 Markets, Encourage Market Diversification

07.22.16 | Archived


AllenHow IIUSA is Helping to Strengthen New EB-5 Markets, Encourage Market Diversification

By Allen Wolff, IIUSA Associate Director, Marketing & Communications

In today’s day and age (read: 2016), EB-5 stakeholders must embrace the new reality that investors from Mainland China will have to wait six years, at a minimum, before a visa number will be available for them to immigrate to the United States. The truth is, while investors wait, numerous events could occur that may imperil their Program eligibility and result in a loss immigration benefits.

With recent data coming out of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fortells a grim story of unpredictably long waiting list (nearly 22,000 pending I-526 petitions as of December 31, 2015), IIUSA is focused on alleviating this pressure of the backlog and further enhancing economic impacts for the Program

A flourishing EB-5 Program of the future will feature not just more visas but a more diversified investor marketplace. To this end, IIUSA has taken a number of important steps by forming relationships with thought leaders from countries and regions with the highest potential and facilitating the free flow of information about developing EB-5 markets.

Over the last few years, IIUSA has put into place an infrastructure through which the EB-5 industry can gain unique market insights about countries with growth potential. This is evident by the establishment of the Investor Markets Committee in July of 2014 and regular articles on growth markets in The Regional Center Business Journal as well as in newsletters to the membership and industry.

IIUSA HelpingIIUSA recently released the first volume of the Investor Market Report, which includes both on-the-ground insights and comprehensive quantitative analysis of EB-5 investor trends. Every country in the world with EB-5 market data is assigned a “growth score”, allowing us to compare trends of various countries and regions against the average growth of the industry over various timespans. By crunching the numbers on comprehensive data-sets of both USCIS petition data as well as Department of State visa statistics, we can now visualize the influx of investment from around the world and extrapolate where growth may yet come. The annual report will help EB-5 stakeholders draw important conclusion that can lead to actionable steps by project sponsors to bring new investors through the Program.

In addition, IIUSA’s “market outreach” initiatives are helping to create an open dialogue between our membership and those interested in immigrating the U.S. through the EB-5 Program.

This summer, IIUSA will participate in several global events to promote EB-5 investment. IIUSA will present at the Investment Migration Forum (June 6-8) in Geneva, Switzerland and will lead a discussion about EB-5 investment and the role of U.S. immigration and investment professionals in the development of best practices for industry globally. Later in the month, IIUSA will host a booth at the SelectUSA Summit (June 19-21) in Washington, D.C., an event hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce with the sole focus of delivering foreign direct investment (FDI) to communities around the country.

What’s unique about these two events is they are a reflection of IIIUSA’s continued emphasis on the development of governmental and association-level partners.

To continue to grow awareness and understanding of EB-5 on an international scale, especially in countries with explosive growth such as Brazil, Vietnam, Russia and Latin American markets, IIUSA identified the need to proactively engage and work with professional associations that have the same goals as its own. IIUSA’s new partnership with the Investment Migration Council (“IMC”), the host of the Investment Migration Forum and the worldwide association for Investor Immigration and Citizenship-by-Investment, is an example for how IIUSA can help generate new insights for its members and further develop international membership that will be to the benefit of the entire EB-5 industry.

IIUSA’s expertise is consulted by U.S. consulates around the globe. As a trusted partner of the U.S. Department of Commerce, IIUSA helps answers fundamental questions posed by potential investors about the EB-5 Program. To help answer these questions, and promote the EB-5 Program generally, IIUSA’s Investor Market Committee will soon make public its “Investor Toolkit”, a short reference guide to getting started for potential investors.

IIUSA’s expertise is consulted by U.S. consulates around the globe. As a trusted partner of the U.S. Department of Commerce, IIUSA helps answers fundamental questions posed by potential investors about the EB-5 Program. To help answer these questions, and promote the EB-5 Program generally, IIUSA’s Investor Market Committee will soon make public its “Investor Toolkit”, a short reference guide to getting started for potential investors.

Lastly, after five years of hosting the EB-5 Market Exchange in the U.S., IIUSA has an opportunity to utilize existing business relationships to host its fall conference overseas going forward. Doing so would serve IIUSA’s strategic initiative to support existing investor markets and developing new ones that diversify origins of investors that participate in the EB-5 Program. The 2016 Market Exchange location will be revealed soon – so stay tuned!

While a more inclusive and prosperous future for the EB-5 industry remains in the balance and industry observers do not yet know how or when the EB-5 Program will be reformed or if visa capacity will be expanded, it is crucial that efforts begin today to prepare for the future of the EB-5 Program. Ultimately, this means a sustained interest and confidence in the Program from investors from all around the globe.

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