EB-5 Visa and Investment Practice
The EB-5 employment-based immigrant investor program is a federal program designed to increase U.S. employment and economic growth, while offering potential permanent residency to foreign investors and vital funding sources to U.S. entrepreneurs. While the availability of visas is often seen as the centerpiece of the EB-5 program, its true value lies in its ability to match investment dollars with promising new ventures, including those designated as Regional Centers.
Much Shelist helps clients examine the commercial enterprises that lie at the center of this program and ensure the long-term viability of these new entities — up to and beyond the five-year minimum commitment. At first glance, the EB-5 program is quite straightforward. Foreign investors must invest a minimum of $500,000 in a U.S. business or Regional Center, which must in turn result in the creation of at least 10 new jobs that are sustainable for five years. (Regional Centers are defined as any economic entity that is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment.) At the end of the five-year period, and assuming all requirements of the program have been met, the EB-5 visa holder can apply for permanent residency in the United States.
In addition to providing foreign nationals with an opportunity to gain residency in the United States and earn a positive return on their investments, U.S.-based entrepreneurs and investors can also take advantage of this program through participation in the Regional Centers. The program has boomed in recent years as traditional forms of financing dried up. Investor demand was at an all-time high in 2013, likely adding approximately $2.0 billion to the over $6.5 billion in EB-5 capital formation since 2005. More than 131,000 American jobs have been created thanks to this EB-5 – and the number is growing. The federal government estimates the EB-5 program has raised $8.6 billion and created at least 57,300 jobs since 1990.
Much Shelist attorneys provide comprehensive legal counsel in all aspects of commercial transactions and investments. Our team has deep experience representing privately held and publicly traded companies in a broad range of industries. Drawing on this knowledge, we advise foreign investors, U.S. entrepreneurs, and operators of existing and potential Regional Centers on a variety of issues, including:
- New venture formation and choice of entity
- Drafting and submission of new Regional Center proposals
- Due diligence regarding potential mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and other strategic investment transactions
- Sourcing of investment capital and other financing opportunities
- Representation of buyers and sellers in stock option, stock purchase and asset purchase agreements, as well as private placements
- Compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations
- Intellectual property protection and prosecution
- Strategic planning and day-to-day guidance on the operation of Regional Centers
- Promotion of the Regional Center and its related business entities
- Licensing of technology and digital content, software development and other technology-related issues
- Insurance and other risk management practices
- Negotiation and preparation of consulting and professional services agreements, employment agreements, and confidentiality agreements
- Litigation and dispute resolution counsel
- Negotiation and preparation of land acquisition and development agreements
- Negotiation and preparation of real estate leases