IIUSA Hosted its 2nd Annual EB-5 International Investment and Economic Development Forum

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The Association to Invest In the USA (IIUSA) recently hosted its 2nd Annual EB-5 International Investment and Economic Development Forum in Laguna Hills, CA. The increasingly popular and effective conference brought together international investment and economic development professionals from around the world in order to instill a sense of passion and energy into the community, and more importantly, to advocate for the continuation of the EB-5 program—which is currently in jeopardy. SoCal CEO representative, Dwight Cromie, attended the event and questioned representatives from varying fields about the impact and necessity of the EB-5 program to the U.S. economy.

Al Rattan, Co-Founder and President of USA Continental Regional Center

The EB-5 visa program was created in 1990 by Congress to allow foreign nationals to seek permanent resident status on the basis of an investment in the US economy. With an EB-5 visa the foreign investor obtains a green card for conditional and then permanent residence in the United States. After 5 years, the investors and their family may obtain US citizenship, subject to meeting all immigration requirements. In strongly supporting the program—scheduled to end in September 2012—the IIUSA welcomed nearly 400 regional center principals, financial advisors, immigration attorneys, investment bankers, and a host of related professionals to do learn, and network at this highly charged event. Peter D. Joseph, Executive Director for IIUSA relayed the importance of continuing the EB-5 program and reminded everyone that the program is “projected to create well over 40,000 jobs and bring over $2 billion in direct investment from overseas.”

In the Inland Empire region alone this community has seen the incredible benefits of the program. Bruce Coleman, Economic Development Director for the City of Murrieta explained “[The EB-5 program] is critically important to the City of Murrieta because we are now seeing the creation of jobs…without the EB-5 program, and with the banks not producing much in the way of real estate loans, we have looked and continue to look at EB-5 as a great way to produce jobs locally for American citizens utilizing funding from overseas.”

Al Rattan, Co-founder and President of USA Continental Regional Center (USACRC) in Murrieta, explained the role of regional centers in the EB-5 program. Mr. Rattan, described how USACRC, through their regional center, have acted as a catalyst for job creation here in Southern California. “What the regional center program allows is for [foreign investors] to invest into a business enterprise, and it is the job of the regional center to create the jobs—both direct and indirect.” In their most recent example, USACRC successfully negotiated a deal with RadNet—a leader in outpatient imaging centers—to open a Murrieta location and expand their highly successful business. Companies like Radnet make use of EB-5 funding to provide many high-skill, high-paying jobs in a region, where such jobs would not otherwise exist.

In light of the EB-5 program’s sunset provision, it is more important than ever to stress the integral role this program plays in bolstering California’s economy. Co-founder and Manager of USA Continental Regional Center, Truong Pham stated: “This is a wonderful program because it can create jobs for the U.S., it can have a big economic impact…and it doesn’t cost the U.S. government any money.” Reminding the audience about the green card benefits that investors and their families receive for successfully creating American jobs.

Sheldon Lytton, a partner with the law firm of Lytton Williams & Messina said, “The single most important issue is to convince the powers-that-be in Washington…that this is a program that is absolutely essential to economic development.” According to one attendee, several manufacturing companies throughout the nation would have shut their doors if not for EB-5 funding. Not only did the EB-5 program help to save the manufacturing plant employees’ lifelong careers, it actually allowed the companies to create more jobs and expand their business. Peter D. Joseph of IIUSA summed up the event as follows: “IIUSA is here to speak for the EB-5 Regional Center industry, we think it is an important tool of economic development going forward. The 21st century has brought a lot of wealth to different parts of the world and it’s time to bring it back here to the United States.”

For More Information Contact:
Charlene Kussner
Continental East Development
Project Manager

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