EB-5 Visa and Investment Practice
The EB-5 employment-based immigrant investor program is a government initiative 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.
The EB-5 program is becoming increasingly popular, with more than twice as many foreign nationals applying for permanent residency through the program in 2011 as applied in 2010. Similarly, the number of Regional Centers grew from 11 in 2007 to more than 170 by mid-2011.
Unfortunately, many of the parties involved in this process fail to look beyond the immigration opportunity. As a full-service business law firm, 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. In difficult economic times, foreign capital can provide a source of financing for new, emerging and even struggling enterprises, and have positive effects on the communities in which these businesses operate.
The business attorneys of Much Shelist 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