A regional center is any private or public economic unit involved in promoting economic growth, creating jobs, improving regional productivity, and increasing domestic investment. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) designates these entities for participation in the EB5 Immigrant Investor Program, which allows for regional center investment. EB5 investors and their families can obtain jobs at regional centers. However, there are two main issues to consider here: the investor’s work authorization and EB-5 employment requirements.
An EB5 investor cannot be employed illegally and must obtain work authorization to be eligible for employment at a regional center. To work at a regional center, an EB-5 investor must wait until they obtain conditional permanent residency. This status is granted once an EB5 applicant goes through adjustment of status, either through filing Form I-485 or consular processing.
Job creation is critical for EB5 investments. To qualify under the EB5 program, investors must demonstrate that their investment has created at least 10 job positions at the time of filing Form I-829. If an investor fails to do so, USCIS will deny their petition unless they can prove enough jobs will be created within a reasonable period after filing. EB-5 job positions must be full-time, permanent, and occupied by qualified U.S. workers. Qualified employees are those who have proper work authorization to work in the United States, either through citizenship or permanent resident status. This includes individuals who are residing in the U.S. as conditional residents, refugees, asylees, or under suspension of deportation. To comply with program criteria, EB5 jobs cannot be filled by nonimmigrants with work authorization or undocumented workers.
While this may imply that any individual with work authorization can be counted towards EB5 job creation, this is not the case. Job positions occupied by an EB5 investor and their family members cannot be used to fulfill their investment’s employment generation.