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EB-5 Investor Portal Podcast
36 minutes | 2 years ago
E2 Visa and EB-5 Visa Compared
Immigration attorney Christian A. Triantaphyllis covers the difference between the E2 Visa & EB-5 Visa in this half hour podcast episode.
43 minutes | 3 years ago
H1-B and EB-5 Visa Comparison (Focus on India)
Floyd Mitchell: [00:01:14] Hello EB-5 investors. This is Floyd Mitchell with eb5eb5.com. Welcome to Episode 5 of the EB-5 investor portal podcast recording on Friday December 1st 2017. Today's episode is titled applying for an EB- 5 visa as an H1-B applicant or visa holder with special guest and immigration attorney Sam Newbold of Barst Mukamal & Kleiner. Sam heads of BMK's EB-5 practice group representing individual investors regional centers and developers. Sam has counseled hundreds of individual EB-5 investors and their families through the entire EB-5 process and has one of the highest approval ratings in the industry. Mr. Newbold is a well-established speaker on immigration law topics in New York City and throughout the country. He often presents on topics involving complex immigration issues. Mr. Newbold also serves on the board of directors for the Safe Passage Project, a nonprofit that provides pro-bono legal aid to accompanied minors in the immigration process. He holds degrees from New York Law School and Elon University. He's admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey. He's a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association. Mr. Newbold has been listed in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Super Lawyers rising star publication which recognizes New York City's top attorneys under the age of 40. Sam welcome to the show. Today's topic is covering H1-B applicants and visa holders who may want to learn more about the EB-5 program.Floyd Mitchell: [00:02:50] Sam can you tell us if individuals seeking a U.S. green card may file an EB-5 petition concurrently with a pending EB-2 or EB-3 application out to USCIS.Sam Newbold: [00:03:01] Sure we have a number of Indian clients who are here in the United States on H1-B and their employers have filed employment based green cards on their behalf. We call these EB-2 or EB-5 category green cards in contrast EB-5 for example. Indians are subject to a backlog in EB-2 and EB-3 similar to how Chinese are subject to a backlog any EB-5. Basically we only give out a certain number of visas globally and we cap also the number of visas we give out to specific countries every year as well. So because of the interest we have in Indian nationals wanting to emigrate for employment it's created a very long line in the EB-2 and EB-3 category for Indian nationals who are here in the United States on H1-B visas and they are here continuously on these H1-B visas employed with their employers while they're waiting for their green cards to come through. Meaning that they're waiting for their visa number to be current so that they can process and adjust their status from being an H1-B visa holder to a U.S. green card holder. So oftentimes what they do is, they'll come to us because they're hearing about EB-5 and there's no backlog for Indian nationals in the EB-5 category and they're looking to perhaps pursue you know an EB-5 investment as a way to get a green card because it would be faster than having to wait you know 10 to 15 years maybe for their visa number to become current and processed under EB-2 or EB-3. So one of the questions initially that they ask us is, "can I file an EB-5 petition if I have an EB-2 or EB-3 sort of green card case going with my employer. The answer to that is yes absolutely. These petitions operate totally independently of one another. For example, the investor files an EB-5 petition themselves and the employer is actually the entity that sponsors the immigrant for the green card and files all the paperwork. So they're the actual person who filed that petition with immigration there. So you have an employment based green card case going and an investment based green card case going and they can totally operate concurrently. They don't interfere with each other necessarily and they don't even really have those cases never really crossed paths at all. So the question about whether or not that's possible is yes it's definitely possible and we have Indian national clients who have successfully done that. It's becoming very popular.Floyd Mitchell: [00:05:32] I would assume that in some cases Sam some of these employees that may be sponsored by their employer might be a little bit nervous about their employer finding out that they are filing in the EB-5 petition after the employer has invested money and time in helping them with their H1-B visa. Have you encountered this? Is this a reasonable concern?Sam Newbold: [00:05:55] Yeah I mean for some people it might be a sensitive subject and we can totally understand why. The employer has invested in this employee that spent ten or fifteen thousand dollars or so on putting together this petition for them and they're holding a job offer open to them while this is in process and the employee is waiting for their visa number to become current. There is this sort of level of concern by the employee that maybe if they go off on their own and try to find their own green card it might make them fall out of favor with their employers so to speak so we understand that. And that's really a case by case thing. You know some employees have great relationships with their employers and their employers may think that's a great idea. Other employers if they found out about that may not see it that way. So you have to be somewhat aware of the relationship that the employee has and that's really their decision about whether to do that. An employee is going to know whether or not something like that is going to affect their employment with their employer. So you obviously don't want to have them pursue something that they aren't comfortable with, but it's something to consider for sure. Oftentimes the investor (we're really talking about Indian nationals here) will go online research about EB-5 and they'll talk amongst themselves or maybe they have a colleague or a friend or they know somebody that has done this themselves. And they'll have questions but they're not quite sure who to contact about that and maybe it might be beneficial for them to contact their immigration counsel for their employer, but again that depends on their relationship with their employer and that may not be a good idea for some people if they feel like it will be a problem. They may want to go seek their own immigration counsel to pursue this. If they don't necessarily want their employer to know. So, it's definitely something to think about and we come across that set of circumstances frequently.Floyd Mitchell: [00:07:45] When the employee files the EB-5 petition, is there some type of notification from USCIS that will go to that respective employees H.R. department? Will their boss find out that they're filing a second petition concurrently with their H1- B? Is this something that they need to spend any time worrying about in terms of things being awkward at work or upsetting their boss, and things of that nature?Sam Newbold: [00:08:14] Yeah I mean look, their employers are not really going to know. Let's liken this to a similar situation, let'ssay that the employee gets married to a U.S. citizen and they file a green card petition that way and they get their green card through marriage. I mean look, life happens and things happen and people's circumstances change. The employer is not going to know that that person unless they told him they got married for purposes of tax treatment you know HR and things like that. They might find out that way but they're not going to find out from immigration necessarily that and I-130 petition has been filed by their new U.S. citizens spouse. Similarly, USCIS isn't going to notify H.R. of their employer that the investor file an EB-5 petition. So no, there's nothing really to be concerned about there necessarily. It's quite often that clients of ours who do this concurrent process will go through and file their 526 and adjust their status and they go to work with a green card one day and they just let HR know that "here's my green card" (laughter) and they find out that way. So you can't expect to live your life in a vacuum, you know, life changes and circumstances change and this is just an option for people who are looking to pursue it.Floyd Mitchell: [00:09:26] Can you tell us how an investor would fund their EB-5 investment and what the total amount is. Along with a little bit about the money aspects of this process.Sam Newbold: [00:09:38] Sure. Well. Ideally if this person has been employed in the United States and they have a good income and they can leverage that income to serve as their investment in the the EB-5 program, that's a very nice set of circumstances to have. That's really kind of like the best circumstances where they really just have W-2 income and you're filing their tax returns as proof of that and things of that nature. That's a good way for them to document their source of funds. A common scenario that we have with our clients from India in this situation is, they have a house and perhaps they've paid off the mortgage on their house and they'll get a new home equity line of credit for example against their house and use those proceeds to service as their investment principle in the EB-5 program. That's very common as well and then other clients will combine domestic income that they've earned here through employment. Maybe, proceeds from a home mortgage that they've gotten in it and possibly a gift from a relative abroad that we can show source of funds from. And then they stitched together that way and all of those scenarios are perfectly fine and perfectly acceptable and provable. And that's the general way that most nationals from India come up with the funds for the EB-5 program.Floyd Mitchell: [00:10:58] Do the funds have to come from overseas or can they be funds that are in a U.S. bank account or here in America and can investors use funds from friends and family?Sam Newbold: [00:11:11] The funds just have to be from a
50 minutes | 4 years ago
The EB-5 Investor Visa Silicon Valley - Immigration Attorney Sophie Alcorn
Floyd Mitchell: Hello EB-55 investors this is Floyd Mitchell with EB5EB5.com. Welcome to Episode 4 of the EB-5 investor portal podcast recording on Thursday July 27th 2017. Today's episode is titled The EB-5 Visa in Silicon Valley with special guest and immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn. Sophie's firm Alcorn Immigration Law helps corporations, start-ups and small businesses in Silicon Valley sponsor the biggest talent in technical fields for U.S. Immigration. Alcorn Immigration Law has a 95% success rate in defending immigration and innovation with visas, green cards and citizenship. We are really excited to have Sophie on the show today and she'll be sharing more information about her firm and the EB-5 program. Sophie Welcome to the show.Sophie Alcorn: Thank you Floyd, I really appreciate it.Floyd Mitchell: We appreciate your time today and for sharing more information about your firm's approach to immigration especially the EB-5 program. What is the most common question you get from your immigration clients.Sophie Alcorn: Yeah the most common question is.."How can I stay in the United States or how can I get the United States". Even though there are so many options and so many laws that allow for legal immigration to the United States it's so confusing to try to decipher them and navigate them. Immigration law is one, if not the most, complicated types of law in the United States. Many judges have complained that it's even more complicated than our crazy tax law system. And if you couple that with the fact that most people who need to navigate U.S. immigration law are from countries where English is not the first language that they learn and if they speak English they speak it as a second language. It's just so unfair and so difficult for them to try to decipher what immigration laws mean. As a non-native English speaker especially so what I see my job as and our team what we do at Alcorn Immigration is really, we come in to help understand...What is your specific situation? Where are you at? Where do you want to be in your life? How do you want to get there? Who do you need to help like your family, your company, your employees, and what? And then we we brainstorm. We use all of the tools of immigration law, visas, parole, green cards, citizenship and so we come up with a lot of creative legal options to help figure it out and then we turn it over to our clients because what it's really about is our clients figuring out what are their priorities. So you know given where they are and where they want to go would they rather pick option A which has these pros and cons, option B which has the pros and cons, option C, and to really give a lot of thought to, "How do I want my life to work?" How long can I wait for this visa? Do I want to try to get it inside the U.S. or outside of the United States? How much do I care about when I'll be able to work in the United States? Do I just want to be here physically? Do my children need to go to school? Which type of school do they want to go to? Do I need to travel a lot back and forth for business meetings or board meetings? Or do I need to just plant myself in the United States and not travel because my kids are really young? So you know everybody's situation is different but everybody has questions. And so people are just delighted to have the opportunity to make an intelligent decision about about their future and to feel like they have some control in choosing one of these strategies that we offer.Floyd Mitchell: I understand that your firm's primary focus in terms of clientele is the Silicon Valley area, the individuals who have immigration needs and the companies that also have immigration needs. Can you tell us what's unique about serving these clients?Sophie Alcorn: Yeah, we get to help people who are coming to Silicon Valley coming to the United States who are focused on innovating and changing the world. They're not just starting software companies but also biotech, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, robotics and the fact that we get to be a part of this process and helping so many brilliant and skilled people come here is really what gets me up every morning and gets me excited to come to the office. There are amazing people and I love helping and hearing everybody's stories and their plans for what they want to do in the United States. You know and a lot of our clients just want to come to make a better life for themselves and their families and that's pretty inspiring too.Floyd Mitchell: The type of work you do is deeply human. Isn't it? Your clients are really relying on you and trusting you to guide them and help them navigate a really complex system.Sophie Alcorn: It is... Absolutely it's so much about trust and relationship building and clients come to me scared. We get hundreds of calls every month from people who are scared. They're confused. They're lost. They know what they want but they're not quite sure how to get it. Or maybe they're not even sure what they want because they've they've even given up hope because it seems too complicated. And yeah I mean the easy scenario in which it makes sense then it's completely obvious to say that immigration law is deeply human where it could be an asylum case for example. But even when I am representing the director of a huge museum or somebody running a publicly traded huge Chinese company it is still deeply human deeply personal work because it's their lives it's their futures and everybody cares about what their life is going to look like. And especially when kids come into the picture what opportunities their children will have growing up in a certain way of life or culture and having opportunities resources freedom good education systems opportunity to go to college in the United States. Those are things that are really really important to our clients.Floyd Mitchell: That is a really unique perspective. Would you say that the children of your clients are a major motivator in the EB-5 program?Sophie Alcorn: Oh.... It's the primary driving factor for many people who are getting EB-5 green cards. Sometimes even families who are living abroad they have teenage children or children in college in the United States as foreign students on F-1 visas. Often the parents are still busy working and they need to stay in their home countries such as China but they will even give their child their 20 year old the five hundred thousand dollars for am EB-5 regional center investment so that their child will have the ability to live in the United States after college without needing to go through the crazy random H-1B lottery for professional visas. There's no guarantee that your your adult child will be able to stay and actually pursue a professional path in the United States. So yeah, what people go through for their children, inspires me every day and I have two little kids. I'm just awed by the love in families of my clients.Floyd Mitchell: It's very selfless. I've heard stories of entire families pooling funds so that one child can have an opportunity to get an education in America and then pursue a life and career in America. After graduating from school. Can you speak about what that may look like for the international students who are also applying for the EB-5 program?Sophie Alcorn: Absolutely... It's a huge advantage. For example there are many international students from all around the world who live in the San Francisco Bay area which is where my practice is located. Young Indian software engineers look to many countries to have the opportunity to have good jobs after college when they're adults. And there is migration out of India for example to Australia and Canada and the United States. So if somebody is trying to go as a young professional to Australia or Canada those immigration systems are point base, they're merits based, you calculate how many, you know what your education is, what languages you speak, what professional certifications you speak, and if you get enough points then you have a chance to go live in that country. Well, that's great for a lot of people, they like that. But a lot of people really want to come to the United States whether it's for the culture, the work environment, the opportunity to start a business and have that business thrive from the resources in Silicon Valley. There are a lot of laws here that are favorable to business. So for many many reasons people really want to come to the United States. But our immigration system is set up differently so it's kind of crazy if you think about it in a way. So for somebody to come to a United States University to get a bachelor's degree, they typically would get an F1 student visa. And in order to do that they have to prove to the U.S. consular official at the embassy or the consulate in their home country where they're going for the interview. They have complete ties to their home country. They're just coming to be a student and after they graduate they're going to go back home to their home country. They have money there, they have property, they have family, all of their ties are in their home country and they have no intention of staying in the United States after they graduate. And that's just completely crazy because if you're going to spend $100,000 so that your child can go to college in California maybe it's $200,000 now, I don't even know. You want your child, you want your adult son or daughter to be able to actually live in the United States and practice the profession that they've studied so hard for and that you've put so many resources into. So what typically happens for F1 students, is when they graduate if they get a bachelor's degree or a master's or even a Ph.D. they get one year of optional practical training. So they get a one year work permit and they're allowed to stay here and they're allowed to get a job and make money and they're allowed to just work for one year and then they have
44 minutes | 4 years ago
The EB-5 Program for India's Investors with Swee Shankar
Hello EB-5 investors. This is Floyd Mitchell with eb5eb5.com. Welcome to episode three of the EB-5 investor portal podcast, recording on Friday July 14th 2017. Today's episode is titled The EB-5 Visa with a focus on India. Our guest today is immigration attorney, Swee Shankar of Shankar Ninan & Co LLP.Swee brings a wealth of experience in Immigration and Nationality laws and is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, New York City Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Swee assists corporations seeking to hire foreign professionals or skilled workers and also assists corporate clients with transferring personnel to company branches within the United States. She also advises clients in U.S. EB-5 investor visa applications.Are you an investor from India and curious about how you might approach the EB-5 process? Are you curious to learn more about applying for EB-5 as an individual from India? If so, today’s podcast is just for you. If you are listening today and happen to live in a country or region outside of India, you may still learn a lot from this episode and we encourage you to listen as well.Swee, welcome to the show.Swee Shankar: Thank you. Thank you for having me here.Floyd Mitchell: Please tell us a little bit about your practice. Do you focus on clients coming to America primarily from India via the EB-5 program?Swee Shankar: Yeah, absolutely. So I would say about 80% of my clients are Indian based. I really think it's because I'm Indian, honestly, so I think people feel comfortable to seek advice from someone that they can relate to, you know? But we do have clients from all over the country, all different backgrounds, ethnicities, all that kind of stuff. My firm has been in business for over 25 years. We used to be called Shimanayd Syad PC but we have recently bought over that firm and now, as you have mentioned, we are known as Shankar Ninan & Co., LLP. We deal with all corporate business and family immigration ranging from all types of visas, students, work visas, green cards, naturalization, investment routes, etc. But yes, we do, primarily, deal with a large Indian based clientele.Floyd Mitchell: What is the most common question you get from your EB-5 client in India?Swee Shankar: That's a good question. It's hard to say that there honestly is just one. Most people want to know, of course, when they're going to get their money back. But when we really start getting into the process, I think my client's biggest concern is how to get all of their money here. And the differences between investing in their own businesses versus a regional center. And, which one is more beneficial to their interests.Floyd Mitchell: What type of services does your firm offer in terms of the planning? Do you help them develop an immigration plan? Do you assist with source of funds?Swee Shankar: When it comes to their immigration plan, we really take care of them from the day that they come into my office to the day that they get their green card. So, I will discuss with them their immigration status. What status they're on currently. If they're not in the country, the best way to get them here. The best routes for them to take. Of course, sourcing of funds is a huge issue. Regardless of who you are you need to be able to source your funds. And, also importantly, on to that topic, really just how it makes sense for them to come here. Bring their money here. Who can come in under, with them. Their spouses, their children. And the best route for them to take. We're here when they need help with anything from business plans. We can help assist or talk with other vendors that we have, to help them get connected. And then, we also help once we file the I-526. If there's any queries that come from USCIS, which is called a Request for Evidence. We're there to assist with the entire Request for Evidence process. Provide all the documentation that they ask for. And respond to that. And usually after the I-526, there's other steps. We help them with the next step, which is adjusting their status to actually get their green card. And we get them their adjustment of status. They get their temporary green card. And much longer down the road, we help them remove the conditions of their green card to get a permanent green card.Floyd Mitchell: Are there particular issues that tend to commonly arise, or challenges that come up for these investors. I know you just touched on source of funds being a challenge. Can you speak to those challenges as they specifically relate to India? And the solutions that you recommend or common strategies that you deploy to help, in situations like that?Swee Shankar: Yeah. Absolutely. In India, you can only transfer 250K per person per year. Okay. So usually that's dealt with pretty easily, because most people will have a spouse, or a child, a family member. Someone that can transfer half of the money. And then the investor will transfer the other half of the money. Okay, so that's not too much of an issue here at this time where the investment amount is 500K. Some other issues that we have is just, how do you source the funds? What can you do to really go all the way back and trace where that money came from. So we help with each of our clients to really go back and be able to show where all the money is coming from. So, that's a big thing, too.Floyd Mitchell: Can you tell us a little bit more about source of funds. Maybe give us some various scenarios that were challenging for you. Or describe to us what exactly it is that USCIS looks for in getting source of funds approved for these investor clients from India.Swee Shankar: Yeah. Absolutely. So we've actually seen, recently, that USCIS is really questioning source of funds. More so than they ever have. So USCIS will go as far back as possible to source funds. Therefore, it's very important to have a trail of where your money is coming from. Anything that is done, must be on paper. So for example, if the money is received by sale of property, let's say. USCIS will ask, not only the proof that the property is owned by the investor, and the purchase sale agreement evidencing the sale of the property. But also, where the investor received the money, in the first place, to buy the property. So they're going all the way back as far as they possibly can. So this always leads to more questions. Another way you can get sourcing your funds is, let's say, the investor has a successful business wherein he received enough funds to buy the property. If he is employed, did he just save up his paychecks to buy the property? Or was the property gifted to the investor? Either way, regardless of which way he got the money to purchase the property, the trail of the money is what's important. And we have to show that, we've seen in recent RFEs, that they're asking us to go as far back as humanly possible to show where the money came from to buy the property. And then that the property was rightfully that of the owner. The investor. And then that the property which was owned by the investor, has now been sold to a third party. And the money given from the third party to the investor, and that money going into the investor savings account. Which is then being transferred to the United States.Floyd Mitchell: So, for the investors that have the money to make this investment in the EB-5 program. One of your main roles as their immigration attorney is to help them prove source of funds, help them prove that that investment was obtained legally. Is that correct?Swee Shankar: Absolutely. That's the most important thing that we do when it comes to EB-5.Floyd Mitchell: Have you ever had clients that just simply could not prove their source of funds. For whatever reason they couldn’t give you the documentation that you needed to be able to assist them in that process.Swee Shankar: Honestly, it's really hard because of how strict USCIS is right now. If you can not source funds, it's not a good idea to even go the EB-5 route. We've, at least with the money that you're able to show, if you can't show where it came from, it's hard to even do this as an option.Floyd Mitchell: Have you had circumstances where clients, before retaining immigration counsel, may have started creating activity with their finances, moving money around. Do you have advice for the investor who may be planning for EB-5 and any suggestions that they just don’t do anything with their money before speaking with you.Swee Shankar: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, I definitely think that you should, anyone thinking about doing this, should come in and speak to an attorney before they do anything. Because, I think people read a lot on forums and different websites. And think that A, B and C is possible. But you don't want to get yourself in a predicament where now you can't move your money back to where you want it, and you're violating whatever regulations in whatever country you're from, without speaking to someone first. So I would definitely advise that anyone seeking to invest in EB-5, come and speak to an attorney, or come and speak to me before they do anything and move forward.Floyd Mitchell: Are there any capital restrictions in moving funds from India to the U.S.? I know you mentioned a husband and wife team can each move 250,000 per year, out of india and into the U.S. Are there other details or requirements or restrictions around that. If so can you share that with us?Swee Shankar: There really aren't. India is pretty straight forward with it. It's just 250K per person per year. And you're able to do that from your bank account in India or wherever it may be, to your bank account in the U.S.Floyd Mitchell: And how would a husband and wife team navigate that? Say the husband has the necessary funds and profits in his company. Would he write a distribution check to himself and also write one to his wife? Or vice versa. Would she write one to herself and one to her hus
47 minutes | 4 years ago
EB-5 Source of Funds in EB-5 Investments
The EB-5 Investor Portal Podcast - Episode #2 Video Version (below) Contact Us Introduction: Hello EB-5 investors. This is Floyd Mitchell with eb5eb5.com. Welcome to episode two of the EB-5 investor portal podcast, recording on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Today's episode is titled Origin of Funds and EB-5 Investments. Our guest is immigration attorney, Andrew Johnson, of law offices of Andrew P. Johnson in New York, New York. Mr. Johnson was a government prosecutor until he entered private practice in 1998. He has authored numerous articles on immigration and international litigation, some of which have been published by the American Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. In addition, Mr. Johnson has been featured in the New York Times, quoted by the New York Daily News, and interviewed by CBS News on the topic of immigration. He has represented large corporations, nonprofits, and small companies in all aspects of immigration law. Mr. Johnson has spoken to business organizations in conferences around the world on the various strategies for immigrating and sending employees to the United States. Mr. Johnson practices immigration law exclusively and is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Andrew is admitted into the United States Supreme Court first, seventh, ninth, and eleventh United States circuit court of appeals, New Jersey district court, and the State Bar of New Jersey. Today he will be sharing information about origin of funds in EB-5 transactions. Andrew, welcome to the show and thank you so much for joining us today.A: My pleasure. Happy to talk about the most primary issue with a EB-5 applicant, which is the origin of funds.Q: Can you share some insight about origin of funds and why issues or challenges tend to present themselves with this particular component in EB-5 investments?A: Absolutely. There's two issues with origin of funds. One, sometimes applicants think it's no problem whatsoever and then they realize, after going into detail, there are some problems based on those country's specific tax laws. Two, some clients think they absolutely cannot prove their origin of funds and realize once they talk to an attorney who's done this for many years, there's absolutely many avenues in which you can prove origin of funds. With that information, let me tell you about the basic requirements. Origin of funds simply means how to prove that the money was obtained legally for USCIS purposes. That's the most important because a lot of people explain that in my country it was obtained legally and the government knows it's obtained legally, however it might not be considered legal origin funds under USCIS regulations. The general rule about legal origin of funds is you have to come from an origin of which it was earned or legally obtained, and let me give you some examples. An easy one would be real estate. A house was sold and the proceeds of that money is used to show USCIS the legal origin of where the money came from. You also can do it from inheritance, just simple savings, investments, business profits or business salary, gifts from relatives or friends, and also you can use all types of variations. People don't understand that you might have 10% come from inheritance, 10% come from business profits, 10% come from savings all the way through. You don't have to have it come from one source. There is one other issue that often people don't fully understand. They simply say, "Okay, I'm selling a house I owned for two years and therefore that's the profit and I'll show that and prove that as my origin of funds." Because it's a recent sale of a house, USCIS will want to know where that money came from to purchase the house two years ago. If it's a home 20 years old the requirement for documentation showing how that money was earned is much less and can be usually drawn from affidavits or statements by the applicant.Q: In your experience how would one go about showing detail for the origin of funds on a transaction that dates back 20 or 30 years or more? Can you tell us how secondary evidence may be helpful in situations where the origin of funds date back so long and the investor may have a difficult time producing the proper detail to satisfy USCIS requirements?A: First of all, we, in our ideal world, if it's 20 years, try to show all the lay and actually how the money was earned 20 years ago. You would have to show how the money was earned, even if the house is owned 30 years or 40 years. The issue is it's just easier, usually you can show, "Okay, this money was earned by salary and here's ...My father worked for a company and he made roughly $20,000 a year over 10 years and then bought the house in 1992." It usually can be established that way, so you always still want to establish it. It becomes, I guess the best way to explain it is if it's two years ago clearly you should be able to find where the money came from two years ago. If it's 15 or 20 you can do it with what they call secondary evidence, in other words not directly from bank accounts where the money was transferred over because people might not be able to have records of that bank account.I apologize, it's not an exact answer. We want to do our best to approve the money from a direct source as best we can, it's just USCIS usually accepts what's reasonable. It's reasonable to show by affidavits and statements how the money was earned 30 years ago to purchase the house. It's also reasonable that the house was bought two years ago to actually show where it came from out of bank accounts.Q: I'd like to clarify for our audience, are origin of funds and EB-5 investments an item that only immigration attorneys work on? Or do other players get involved in this area at all?A: Very good question. In fact, it's our primary role. The other parts that we have to do are quite easy. It's just identification documents and so forth. No, the investment banker, the regional center, they specifically don't want to go into that issue because it's a legal issue and requirement by USCIS. That is absolutely ... That's the most important job for the immigration attorney. As I had mentioned before, if the applicant can prove origin of funds there really is almost no other issue to make them ineligible to file for the EB-5 program.Q: What are some of the common problems or misconceptions clients have with origin of money?A: Most clients naturally earn money ... Let me give you an example. If they earn money through business income and it goes into their business account and they move it over to their personal account. Then they take that money, obviously, and most people don't keep $500,000 or $300,000 into their personal account and let it sit there. The money will either be spent on cars and jewelry and living expenses or the money will be invested in stocks. Then the money is used to purchase stocks or investments, and then someone might cash out on that investment and then spend it on something else. Now, often clients say to us, "I've made $750,000 over the last two years. I can prove that." The problem is they can prove it from their business account to their personal account, but then if the money has been used, or sent out, or spent, they have to be able to show how they can bring that money back into their personal account to USCIS. In other words it has to be fully tracked back. The reason why it is as difficulty as it is, especially with things that you expense, that's sometimes very difficult. A lot of clients have money from sources that we can't use for USCIS, where they want to refill their personal account back up. They can say, "Okay, I can put $750,000 back into my personal account." The problem is they can't show where that money came from, they're just refilling, in a sense, the personal account. Often, after we have those discussions, it's easier for the applicant to almost do another business deal in order to get the money back into the business account moved over to the personal account, and have it stay there. With a lot of businessmen that's actually quite easy. That issue, obviously, is what I had mentioned before. Some clients say, "Oh, well I make $500,000 a year, this should be no problem, it goes from my business account to my personal account, I have it invested and so forth." They have to be able to legally show how that money is properly brought back into their business account without being replenished by money that's from, in a sense, an ineligible source or an untraceable source. I know that gets a little complex but that's what they really have to be worried about if they want to use money that they have saved or earned in the past. Where it went to and where it needs to go back. We have to draw it up in a sense where we actually track it and write up exactly the pathways, and sometimes even graph it up on a computer to make sure we can show the legality of it. Then we usually circle the sections or the amounts of money that would be considered questionable. Then with that we might say, "Okay, we have $75,000 that's going to be untraceable, let's try to find another source in order to prove that money," which is often quite easy to do.Q: Can an investor sell stock or other assets to come up with the investment required?A: Absolutely. I don't want to make it sound too difficult. If, for example, they earn income through salary or the business they own, they move it to their personal account, and then they purchase stock, then they sell that stock, it goes back to the personal account, we have legal origin of money, no problem whatsoever. The problem is, as I mentioned earlier, is often that money gets moved from stock, three years later it's sold and goes to another stock, or then sometimes money is pulled out and expensed, that's what I'm saying. When it has three or four multiple transfers you have to bring it back through all three of those transfers... Or trace it back from
28 minutes | 4 years ago
The EB-5 Broker Dealer - A Key Player in EB-5 Investments. Learn More.
EB-5 Broker DealerIn this EB-5 Podcast Episode you'll learn some key information about the Broker Dealer and their importance in EB-5 investments. A few things you'll learn in this article and podcast are:What is an EB-5 Broker Dealer?Why are EB-5 investments securities that require an EB-5 Broker Dealer's involvement?What background and experience does the Portal's Broker Dealer have?What can you expect when working with an EB-5 Broker Dealer?Read on or listen to learn more about the EB-5 Broker Dealer. Video Version Contact Us Charles "Duke" Runnels of T.R. Winston speaks with us about the role of a Broker Dealer in EB-5 Transactions. Podcast - 28 mins.Introduction: (Episode Transcribed)Hello EB-5 Investors this is Floyd Mitchell with eb5eb5.com and welcome to episode #1 of the EB-5 Investor Portal Podcast.Recording on Friday June 23rd 2017. Today’s episode is titled:The Role of a Broker Dealer in EB-5 Investments”.Our guest is investment banker, Charles “Duke” Runnels of T.R. Winston & Company. Duke has an impressive background in not only EB-5 Investments but real estate as well. Some of Duke’s notable projects included the Minnesota World Trade Center, the Louisville Galleria along with its two adjoining office towers, the CCH Computax Headquarters building and the Torrance Marriott Hotel. Since 2014, Duke has been acting Director for Capital Markets for TR Winston & Company, a privately owned merchant, corporate and investment banking firm. Today Duke will share with us some keen insight into the role of a broker dealer in EB-5 investments. Welcome again and I hope you find today’s show informative and helpful. Are you an investor doing your research and trying to find the right project, or the right team? Are you familiar with the role of a broker dealer and how much this person can help you reach your dream of U.S. Citizenship? Have you read the bad news about EB-5 as it so often is published by the media? We’ll if so, today’s episode should bring clarity and give you confidence that there is a proper, safer and professional way to make your investment and improve the likelihood of you reaching your goal of becoming an American Citizen.I’d now like to welcome Duke Runnels to the show. Duke, we appreciate your time today and really look forward to learning more about what you do as an investment banker and broker dealer for immigrant investors. Q:Let’s start with the basics Duke. There are many advisors that are not actual Droker Dealers like you out in the world promoting various EB-5 projects and giving advice to prospective investors. I understand that this can be quite risky and that there are actual safeguards in place for these investors. What are EB-5 Investments and why are they regulated by FINRA and what is your role in all of this as a broker dealer? A:EB-5 investments are securities and securities come under the purview and guidance of FINRA and its member firms. The Broker Dealer (also referred to as an investment banker) role is a critical role as one looks towards making an investment in the EB-5 arena. The reason for that is that you know that investment has gone through a certain amount of scrutiny, a certain amount of due diligence, investigation and that there has been a full identification of the risks along with the opportunities. Call it an enhanced vetting process that the project goes through before it is even made available to the investor for their consideration. So the role of a broker dealer or the role of an investment banker becomes a critical one. In the EB-5 industry this is somewhat of a new phenomenon because many people have been acting as advisors in this role without going through the various guidelines that are developed by FINRA. A Broker Dealer adds another avenue of safety that the investor may rely on.Q:What is involved to get approved as an investment banker to be licensed as an EB-5 broker dealer?A:What's involved there is making application to FINRA to actually expand your firm or the investment banking firms suite of services. And when one makes that application to FINRA there is a process that is a laborious and expensive process to go through in order for that broker dealer to be authorized if you will to transact in the EB-5 arena. There are very few investment banking firms to my knowledge that have gone through that process as we have at T.R. Winston.Q:What is the process for an investor to work with the EB-5 Investor portal and yourself at T.R. Winston & Company to make an investment in one of the EB-5 projects you represent?A:Sure. The process would look something like the investor has been made aware of the web site EB-5 Investor Portal which has been fully reviewed by FINRA. They're made aware of a project through that portal. Most often they've been made aware of that project through their own immigration attorney or an immigration attorney that they have been working with, once they decided to pursue making an application for an EB-5 Visa. Once the attorney is involved and they've started to pull together information, they have been in contact with the EB-5 Portal and have been made aware of a project at that point in time should their interest be sufficient enough they are put in touch with someone such as ourselves a T.R Winston, with an investment banker or broker dealer if you will. What will happen before then, what they can expect from that conversation with an investment banker is that we will have already reviewed the project, not only the project itself and its economic viability. We will have reviewed the viability coupled with the reports as to it's job creation, we will have reviewed and done extensive background checks on the sponsors of that real estate development. In other words, it is our role to uncover everything there is to know, everything there is regarding the proposed project. What that brings to the table is another layer of safety, another layer of due diligence, another layer of vetting that the investor and his immigration attorney can rely on as they study and peruse and decide if the investment is correct for them. It really means there is another layer of comfort to be gathered by talking with the underwriter of the program which would be the investment banker and that's where the interface with us and that's where that conversation starts to lead.Q:Do you speak with the investor directly or do you work with any number of people they may have on their team such as immigration attorneys, wealth managers, accountants etc.?A:That's a great question Floyd and I would say yes to all of the above. One of the unique aspects of the way this program is set up is that the investor does not need to let go of his individual advisers that he's been accustomed to relying on. In other words they can retain their own immigration attorney as well as retain their own wealth managers or accountants or things on those lines. It is important though, that as the investment banker, we do interface directly with the investor but we can do that with the immigration attorney in most cases, accountants if need be. Bearing in mind that we are not accountants we are not legal attorney, so the investor would want to rely on his expanded team if you will. Be it individual conversation with the investor or conference calls with the investor and their advisers. All of those are tremendously encouraged.Q:Why is T.R. Winston qualified to help any investors out there that may be listening to this podcast? If you can as well, please tell us about your real estate experience and how that may help the investors you work with.A:Well I think there's a number of things to consider. One of them is that the firm in this case T.R. Winston has been vetted and approved as part of their business operation to participate in the EB-5 arena. So that's number one. Then secondly it is important that the actual investment banker or the actual adviser be someone that has real estate knowledge and experience because in most cases that's where the EB-5 investment will rest in the real estate industry. And in our particular situation my particular career as well as our team has been rooted in the real estate industry both from a standpoint of equity and debt and more particularly in terms of real estate development. So our ability to underwrite to verify projections or challenge them as the case may be is a little bit more enhanced because of our career experience in the real estate market as it spans the United States and different product types. So as I circle back it's important that the firm be authorized by FINRA to participate and EB-5 is a part of their business operation and it is critical that the actual investment advisors or investment bankers have extensive real estate experience and that that is a part of what they bring to the table not just financial projections and a process.Q:Because so many EB-5 projects really do involve real estate in some capacity and EB-5 investments are securities as you mentioned earlier, this must have created a very unique and interesting legal and vetting climate. You’re dealing with two different and uniquely regulated industries. What are your thoughts about this and can you expand on how EB-5 and real estate mesh together in the case of these investments?A:Well it is unique because there are two separate industries real estate and securities but they have started to blend themselves together and what I'm referring to there is the nature of real estate development and our experience there in developing projects such as mixed use projects with retail and office and senior living as well as high rise development as well as suburban office development, that experience and that industry has evolved to where oftentimes as one raises equity or raises debt, it has crossed over and has become a security as defined by FINRA. Once something has been defined as a security then by d
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