EB-5 has potential public-funding benefits

The creative use of the EB-5 foreign investment visa offers numerous opportunities to fund worthy projects and create jobs for U.S. citizens


To the editor:

As an immigration lawyer who has advised many clients on the EB-5 investment visa, allow me to offer some clarification to your Jan 11-24 story, "State's second EB-5 investor center awaits federal approval.”

The story indicates a distinction between investing in a rural, as opposed to an urban, area, that the former requires a $500,000 investment, and the latter $1 million. Actually, there is no distinction. The rules are the same to acquire a green card via investment in either place.

Second, there are two separate paths to an EB-5 visa. One is to invest $1 million or more in a stand-alone qualified enterprise or startup, and in the process to demonstrably create 10 jobs for U.S. citizens. The other path is to invest $500,000 in a pre-approved regional center entity, generally as a share in a limited partnership. If the project has been approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, it is not necessary for the individual investor to actually create 10 jobs. The sponsor of the project provides this certification in its plans submitted to USCIS for pre-approval.

While generally thought of as a mechanism for raising capital for condominiums, shopping centers, or in the case of New Hampshire's Owl Nest Resort, expansion in Campton, when capital is unavailable through conventional lending, there are other creative ways to use the EB-5 investment visa.

Public infrastructure is a new field. For example, according to an Oct. 14, 2012, Reuters story, Buffalo, N.Y., has renovated a 19th century orphanage to create classrooms and computer labs. And Florence, Ariz., is financing a sixth campus for a chain of charter schools. Some cities are using EB-5 money to build playgrounds and gymnasiums.

Curiously, the EB-5 visa could be a resource for New Hampshire's financially troubled charter schools, or even a funding mechanism for the long-delayed and much discussed Concord-to-Boston commuter railroad.

The creative use of the EB-5 foreign investment visa offers numerous opportunities to fund worthy projects and create jobs for U.S. citizens. The incentive for investors, if properly managed, is that if they invest wisely, the investor, spouse and children under 18 all get a green card, plus a return on the investment as it matures. It's a winner for the investor, the community and a boost to the U.S. economy.


Attorney George Bruno

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