The 2 key differences are that Regional Center EB-5 Projects are sponsored by USCIS-approved Regional Center, and are therefore allowed to count jobs created indirectly by the investor’s investment.
The first important difference between Direct Investment EB-5 investments and Regional Center EB-5 investments is that Regional Center EB-5 investments must be sponsored by a USCIS-approved EB-5 Regional Center. This requires an application process filed with USCIS where the Regional Center’s management team, initial project ideas and economic job creation strategy are analyzed and authorized by USCIS. Sometimes, Regional Center projects are also pre-approved, resulting in what USCIS refers to as an “Exemplar” approval.
The second important difference between Direct Investment EB-5 investments and Regional Center EB-5 investments is the job creation methodology. Both still require the investor to create at least 10 new full-time jobs through their investment. In Direct Investment EB-5 projects, all jobs that will be counted for the EB-5 investment must be salaried employees of the new commercial enterprise. This requires the new commercial enterprise to maintain payroll records to prove that the employee was employed as a salaried employee and was also a qualified U.S. worker (which excludes, for example, persons who hold non-immigrant visa status such as H-1B or L-1A visa status).
In Regional Center EB-5 projects, job counting can occur by counting salaried employees, as well as by counting indirect employment resulting from the investment in the community where the project is located. Indirect employment creation is determined through economic statistical methods and generally does not necessarily require the new commercial enterprise to provide salary and wage records to confirm that it employed a specific number of employees.
Donoso & Partners provide assistance with review and advice regarding eligibility for visas to the U.S. or Canada.