EB-5 investment funding has helped reduce unemployment in the United States by creating thousands of full-time jobs for local workers. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants EB-5 visas only to investors whose capital was used to create at least 10 jobs. As a result, the benefits of the EB-5 investment program have long been recognized.
EB-5 investors will likely have many options at their disposal when looking for open projects. Since not all EB-5 projects are able to comply with USCIS regulations, including the job creation requirement, it is essential for investors to do careful research on each available option. Moreover, foreign nationals interested in making an EB-5 investment should keep in mind that USCIS carefully evaluates Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, to determine whether the required job positions have been created and maintained.
The Three Employment Types
In the EB-5 industry, three types of employment can be created: direct, indirect, and induced jobs.
Direct EB-5 projects, which operate without the intermediacy of a regional center and directly receive the EB-5 investment funds, can count only direct employment. Direct job positions must appear on the company’s payroll records and last for a minimum of two years. In addition, USCIS requires all direct employees to possess authorization for employment in the United States. According to the USCIS Policy Manual, EB-5 projects can use U.S. permanent residents, citizens, legal asylees, and refugees; in contrast, workers holding L, M, or O visas and an investor or their family members cannot count as EB-5 employees.
Regional center-sponsored projects enjoy much more flexible job creation requirements. In addition to direct positions, these projects can also count indirect and induced positions. These job types are not created by the EB-5 project directly, nor do they appear on the payroll. Rather, they result from the project’s overall economic impact on the locality. An economist’s services are needed to calculate a regional center project’s indirect and induced employment creation.
Choosing a Safe EB-5 Investment Opportunity
In light of the above, a project’s job creation potential is one of the most essential factors that potential investors must examine. If a project relies too heavily on EB5 investment funding or clearly cannot create 10 jobs per EB-5 investor, it should be avoided. In contrast, projects with ample employment capacity that aim to generate more than 10 jobs per investor are the most reliable opportunities for investors.
EB-5 investors will greatly benefit from working with an immigration attorney, who will likely help them to identify the soundest projects from a job creation perspective.