LA EB-5 Summit Gives Insight On The Latest Issues In The Program

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Artisan Business Group, Inc. recently hosted the EB-5 Regional Center Development and Investors Procurement Summit in Los Angeles. Speakers like David Hirson of Fragomen, discussed everything from regional center designation and development to how to avoid project denials by USCIS.

Brian Su

Artisan Business Group hosted the last EB-5 event of 2013 in Los Angeles, CA

There are a lot of misperceptions and a lot of negative media reports about the program. We’re trying to help people understand this is a very good program for businesses to help raise capital overseas.

Artisan Business Group recently hosted its last event for the year at the Doubletree by Hilton Los Angeles-Westside. The goal of EB-5 Regional Center and Investors Procurement Summit was to help Stakeholders gain a better understanding of the program, says Brian Su, CEO of Artisan. "There are a lot of misperceptions and a lot of negative media reports about the program. We’re trying to help people understand this is a very good program for businesses to help raise capital overseas."

The event began with Su welcoming and introducing speakers who included Kevin Wright of Wright Johnson, LLC, Bernard Wolfsdorf of Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group, David Hirson of Fragomen, Michael Homeier from Homeier & Law, P.C., and Jason Li, of Cansine Group.

Michael Homeier says the climate for EB-5 remains strong, but there are challenges on the horizon. He says, "There are people we refer to as the kids and the cowboys. The kids mean well but they don’t know what they are doing and probably aren’t ready for primetime… then you’ve got the cowboys who are people who know better and are willing to cut corners in order to do things they shouldn’t be doing or possibly even just out right steal from folks."

Bernard Wolfsdorf is optimistic about the coming year, acknowledging that the program has had some difficulties over the past couple years but with the SEC’s involvement, some of the "bad actors" have been weeded out. His big concern for 2014 is running out of the 10,000 visas allocated to the EB-5 program. He says, "Do the math folks, there’s going to be waiting line," and advises people to file within the next six months if they are interested in EB-5.

Other hot topics circulating at the event included the JOBS Act, which hasn’t had the big impact on the program that most people in the EB-5 community expected. Homeier says, "We’re really seeing people being careful about the changes."

Homeier discussed other hot button issues in securities law as it pertains to EB-5 like the disclosure of broker compensation and due diligence.

Attendees of the event also comprised regional center principles and developers. We spoke with Jeff Carmicheal, COO of Rock Bridge Senior Living Communities who is using EB-5 for the first time for a project in Carolina. The biggest challenge he has faced with EB-5 are the slow processing times. "Projects cannot sit and wait and I think that’s probably the largest challenges that any developer for any type of project faces using EB-5." He stresses the importance of using bridge financing.

June Li, Vice President of Seattle Area Regional Center also says the processing times have been her greatest challenge. She is grateful for the May 30th EB-5 Policy Memorandum issued by USCIS allowing bridge financing, which she has had to use for her stadium project.

The event culminated with Brian Su discussing how to effectively raise EB-5 capital in overseas markets and a Q&A session.

Su is planning on hosting many more events in 2014, including the largest summit for EB-5 in China, Invest in America 2014 (Shanghai) Summit in March.

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Dwight Cromie

Bill Friedl
Altek Media Group
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