Any attendee of an AILA Conference has seen the promotional materials distributed by various Regional Center operators. The claims, which we will assume are accurate, can usually be grouped as follows: 1) “We have I-829 approvals (and the other guy’s don’t)!; 2) We have 100% approval rate for our I-829’s! 3) We have hundreds of I-526 approvals, with a near-perfect approval rate; 4) Don’t sign up with those new guys, because we have I-526 and I-829 approvals, and those guys have nothing other than slick brochures and wacky projects! While there is no doubting the veracity of these claims, they are really irrelevant considerations for EB-5 investors. All of these claims are inherently backwards looking journeys through the past, and do nothing to educate immigration attorneys and their EB-5 clients on the potential success of present and future projects. While it is educational and helps the investor learn about the particular Regional Center, it should not be the only due diligence an investor undertakes when choosing a Regional Center. Regional Center’s that are hitching their sails to the mast of prior success are essentially making an argument akin to saying in November 2001 that investing in Enron stock was advisable because it was once worth more than $100/share. Soon thereafter, Enron was bankrupt and discredited. Past success as we have seen is not always indicative of future success.
There are about six regional centers that have approved I-829s. This shows that the regional centers have been in business generally over five years and have proven job creation. There are many other due diligence issues that should be considered in addition to approved I-829s.
FOCUS on the PROJECT in which you are considering investing in. IF that PROJECT (or group of related projects) fails to produce enough jobs for ALL EB-5 investors involved then it is a bad choice. Track-records in the realm of EB-5 Regional Centers are largely meaningless and far
overrated. The current PROJECT is the only thing that really matters for the EB-5 investors’
chances of gaining the LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident or green-card) status even if they don’t
know this reality.
Some of the other things worth noting in your regional center search should include standard investor questions such as level of risk and team history. The regional center landscape is changing, so spending a little money on a thorough analysis report can help you find viable options with good teams, strong projects and good returns, even if they haven't reached I-829 yet.
It is important to remember that you are NOT investing in a regional center, but in a project that is offered under the regional center's designation. Therefore, it is not possible to gauge the likelihood of success in a current project by looking at the success of a previous project. That said, it is good to work with a regional center that has done successful projects in the past. Just make sure you and your team does sufficient due diligence on the current project so that you understand all of the risks involved.