Within the EB-5 program, most investors gravitate towards regional center investments. These projects pool the funds of multiple investors and offer a “hands-off” approach to managerial duties. In contrast, direct investments are often favored by those who desire full control over their investment. It is typical for a direct investment to have only one sole investor. However, it is possible for multiple investors to jointly invest in a single direct investment project. In such cases, each investor is responsible for meeting the EB5 minimum investment amount and creating the necessary jobs. Direct investments can only count direct jobs towards employment creation, which are positions created by the project itself. These must be full-time, permanent, and filled by qualified U.S. workers.
While an investment’s projected job creation is initially demonstrated within the business plan of the I-526 petition, actual employment is proven through Form I-829. If United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines an investment has satisfied program regulations, the petition will be approved. The investor is then granted permanent U.S. resident status.
If an investor exits a joint direct investment, it is possible this will not have any adverse effects on the job creation calculation of the other investors. Each investor must be able to demonstrate the connection between their investment and the created jobs. As such, an investor cannot take responsibility for creating a job position that has already been attributed to another investor’s capital. As long as the investors create enough jobs for themselves individually, an investor exiting the project will likely not harm the job calculation of the other investors.
Although an investor withdrawing from a project after I-829 approval may not negatively impact the remaining investors, a carefully constructed exit strategy is necessary to protect all investors. After an investor exits a project, an experienced EB5 immigration attorney would likely be needed to advise the remaining investors on how to best proceed.