Interviewer: So Vaughan, tell us, what exactly is an EB-5 Visa?
Vaughan de Kirby: Well first and foremost, it’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity; it’s a real win-win, both for the United States economy, and for the person who wants to immigrate to the United States. Essentially, to simplify it, it’s basically an investment in a designated, approved enterprise in the United States, and by making that investment, the foreign national is able to get a green card for themselves and their families.
Interviewer: Now what are its origins? Where did it come from?
Vaughan de Kirby: Well it dates back to 1993. Basically Congress said, ok, let’s find a way to make immigration create jobs in the United States. So they created EB-5, and then later on they saw that because of regulation and because of the perception, it really wasn’t being used, and they came up with a Regional Center Program, which, what that is, is essentially a Regional Center is a business enterprise that can go to USCIS, which is the Immigration Service, they can go to the Immigration Service and they can present a business plan and a business to the Immigration Service. The Immigration Service can then tell them and authorize them to attract investors to that enterprise. And by investing in that enterprise, the investor is able to get their green card.
Interviewer: Now is the Regional Center the only investment for the EB-5 Visa.
Vaughan de Kirby: That’s a very good question Chris. That is the primary way today most people obtain their green card. But let me explain. The EB-5 program originally required a million dollar investment and the creation of 10 jobs. And it’s more complicated, but there are many investors who want to control their business enterprise. They invest in, generally, a million dollars and create 10 direct jobs in the United States. That’s where EB-5 originated. The Regional Center program was adapted from that original program because they felt that people were not moving to the original program where they were making the million dollar investment. Under the Regional Center program, they can make a $500,000 qualifying investment and the investment is run by the Regional Center. In the direct investment, they’re actually operating their business. There are certain business people in China and other parts of the world that would rather make the investment directly, and we also handle those cases, but predominantly the EB-5 has moved towards the Regional Center, because it is so difficult for a foreign national to operate a business in the United States when they haven’t lived in the United States, and there’s, I think, more risk involved. And so the Regional Center program has been very popular, especially with parents who are making the investment for their child who is a university student, and they want to get that particular child a green card.
Interviewer: Now what does all this investment do for the U.S. economy?
Vaughan de Kirby: A lot. It’s an amazing program for the U.S. economy. 3.4 billion has been added to our gross national product, 42,000 jobs have been created, it has built wonderful projects, it has helped economies all over the United States. It’s important to know too that the EB-5 program, the Regional Centers generally are investing in what’s called a TEA, that’s a Target Employment Area. That’s an area designated by that state and the federal government as being a target employment area because the unemployment there is one and a half times, 150%, of the national average. So not only does EB-5 represent important investment capital, but it also is investment capital put where it’s needed, in areas of our cities and our states where jobs need to be created.