Founders and Managing Partners of EB5AN
As we look forward to 2023, we look back with gratitude at the remarkable growth that EB5AN enjoyed last year. Despite various challenges in the EB-5 industry, we achieved significant milestones and accomplishments in 2022.
Pivoting to Direct EB-5 Projects
The year began with the continued lapse of the regional center program. Instead of idly waiting for reauthorization like many of our competitors, EB5AN pivoted. Change is rarely easy, but our team rose to the challenge.
We offered investors direct EB-5 projects while the investment threshold was temporarily reduced to $500,000. In doing so, we helped dozens of investors make direct EB-5 investments during the lapse of the regional center program. Through direct investment capital, we created hundreds of new restaurant and early childhood education jobs. These jobs promoted economic development and helped meet the critical need for childcare in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resuming Regional Center Operations Under New USCIS Rules
When the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (the “RIA”) was signed into law in March, EB5AN pivoted once more to comply with the new policies. We invested time and resources to understand the RIA and regularly published articles discussing how the law impacted the EB-5 program. As legal action was taken to challenge USCIS’s initially strict interpretation of the RIA, we covered the lawsuit and its outcome in real time, providing critical analysis and actionable insights.
Our team adapted swiftly to meet the new requirements of the RIA. We filed the new I-956 application for regional center designation the day after its release. EB5AN was one of the first in the industry to file Form I-956, and it also received one of the first I-956 approvals from USCIS. Our approved I-956 application confirms that our updated policies and procedures fully comply with the RIA.
Our regional centers were also among the first to accept filings of the new I-526E petition at the adjusted amount of $800,000 in both rural and urban high-unemployment TEA projects.
After Congress passed the RIA, we shifted our focus from direct EB-5 offerings back to our core strategy of regional center projects. EB5AN introduced two new rural TEA projects—Wohali Utah and Twin Lakes Georgia—both of which are under construction, with substantial job creation and sales to date. We brought our existing urban high-unemployment TEA project, Saltaire St. Petersburg, into compliance with the RIA. And we expanded our regional center coverage to more than 30 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Two of our EB-5 projects reached key milestones last year. First, the EB-5 investors in our Water Club North Palm Beach project received approval for Form I-829, meaning that the project created more than enough jobs for all investors to receive permanent Green Cards. Second, the Kolter Group, the developer of our VUE Sarasota Condominium project, repaid EB-5 investor funds.
Increased Growth and Recognition
Throughout this period of challenges and opportunities, EB5AN grew its core team and added several new members to our regional center compliance team. We expanded our presence in China, South Africa, Korea, Brazil, and Latin America. Additionally, we hosted dozens of online webinars and in-person EB-5 seminars across North America, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
EB5AN continues to publish industry-leading informational resources for EB-5 investors and professionals. These include an expanded FAQ page with more than 400 questions, all updated to reflect the new policies of the RIA. We also updated our TEA map to reflect the latest demographic data. This map remains the most-used industry resource for EB-5 project developers.
We also released a new EB-5 project selection guide to help investors evaluate the immigration and financial risks of potential projects. Our EB-5 video library now includes 400 informational videos in seven languages.
Successfully Facing Challenges in the EB-5 Industry
While our team’s dedication and hard work made 2022 a productive year for EB5AN, we realize that many other firms in the industry faced significant problems. For many in the EB-5 industry—even some experienced firms—2022 was a year of insurmountable difficulties. The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the real estate development landscape, and the current economic downturn combined with rising interest rates has created complex challenges for many EB-5 projects.
We are grateful to have made it through 2022 stronger than before. All EB5AN projects remain in good standing. We have faced no lawsuits and incurred no fines. Our commitment to transparency and investors’ wellbeing and success remains our primary focus.
EB5AN’s Goals for 2023
Now, as 2023 begins, we have developed a new set of ambitious goals to pursue.
One of our primary goals is to continue to expand our regional center coverage across the United States. Wider regional center coverage will open new opportunities to create high-quality EB-5 investment projects for our investors and economic growth in the communities that need it most.
To further our goal of offering high-quality, low-risk EB-5 investment projects with priority Green Card processing, we plan to focus on rural TEA projects in 2023. Rural TEA projects offer unique opportunities for EB-5 investors because of the special treatment they receive under the RIA. We expect I-526E petitions from investors in rural TEA projects to be adjudicated more quickly. As a result, we believe that this project category will be the best option for investors not already living in the United States. In 2023, we hope to offer investors several new best-in-class rural TEA projects that are already under construction and do not depend on EB-5 capital for success.
Under the RIA, EB-5 investors who already live in the United States on H-1B and other visas can immediately adjust their immigration status and receive an employment authorization document (EAD). This provision is particularly important for investors from India, China, and Vietnam. These investors will be allowed to adjust their immigration status only as long as the Visa Bulletin for their country lists the EB-5 visa as current—that is, without a backlog of EB-5 visa applications. We expect the rural TEA category of EB-5 visa to remain current longer than any other EB-5 category, making it particularly attractive to investors from these countries. Hundreds of our EB-5 investors, including many Indian H-1B visa workers, have already applied for and obtained EADs in just a few months. We hope to help many more Indian, Chinese, and Vietnamese investors in 2023.
Another goal for 2023 is to update one of our major resources for EB-5 investors and project developers: the EB5AN Official EB-5 Guidebook. Leading immigration attorneys Ronald Klasko and Daniel Lundy of Klasko Immigration Law Partners, along with securities attorneys Ronald Fieldstone and Rohit Kapuria of Saul Ewing, have partnered with us to produce the seventh edition of this essential guide to the EB-5 program. The updated guidebook is scheduled for release by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
Building on our many successful events in 2022, we will continue to offer in-person seminars and online webinars. We love to connect with EB-5 industry professionals and investors at these events, and we look forward to more opportunities to do so this year. If you share our core values—our commitment to excellence and transparency—please reach out to us. We would be delighted to work with you in 2023.
Our Unwavering Commitment to Excellence
Most of all, we are thankful for our team, the immigration attorneys who work closely with us, our overseas partners, the developers who trust us with their projects, and the investors who rely on us for successful immigration and to keep their hard-earned capital safe.
If you are interested in having a conversation about the EB-5 program or EB5AN and its services, we would be happy to speak to you personally. Our goal is to equip you with a solid understanding of the EB-5 program so you can carefully evaluate each investment opportunity. This will allow you to make a fully informed investment decision with high chances of immigration and financial success.
We wish you all a happy and successful 2023.
Very truly yours,
Samuel B. Silverman and Michael Schoenfeld
Founders and Managing Partners