Basic Requirements for EB-5 Investments
Though the process of obtaining the EB-5 immigrant investor visa has its complexities, there are essentially three requirements:
- At least $500K must be invested if the investment project is in a targeted employment area (TEA), as outlined by USCIS. If it’s not in a TEA, the investor must allot $1 million toward the project.
- The investment must support a new commercial enterprise (NCE), defined by USCIS as “any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business.”
- For each investor, 10 permanent full-time positions for qualified employees must be created or saved within two years of I-526 approval.
Here, we’ll focus onEB-5 job creation requirements.
How Jobs Are Counted
One of the most consequential choices an EB-5 investor will make is whether to invest in an NCE independently or through an EB-5 regional center. This decision makes a difference in how job creation requirements are fulfilled, with the regional center option offering an unmistakable advantage: Investors who invest directly into a business are permitted to add only direct jobs to their job creation totals, while those who rent a regional center can include indirect and induced jobs as well.
A direct job forms an employer–employee connection between the NCE and the person holding the job. These jobs are usually tied to daily business operations.
Indirect and induced jobs are both created by rippling EB-5 economic impact rather than directly by the NCE, and estimated by an economist using an acceptable methodology. As the new business operates, its need for goods and services creates a demand that other local businesses must create jobs to fill. These jobs are considered indirectly created by the new business. Similarly, induced jobs are created by the new employees’ demand as they spend their newly earned salaries in the community.
In lieu of creating new jobs, the EB-5 job creation requirements can be met by saving jobs—keeping them from being eliminated by a troubled business. The business must exist for at least two years and incur a loss of at least 20% of its net worth during the previous 1–2 years. The investor’s business plan must show that the number of jobs in the business will not drop in the subsequent two years.
Permanent, Full Time, and Qualified
It’s not only the numbers that matter, but how and by whom the positions are filled. To sufficiently discharge EB-5 job creation requirements, the new jobs must be permanent full-time jobs held by qualified workers.
- To be permanent, a job cannot be intermittent, seasonal, transient, or temporary, and must be expected to last for at least two years. Saved jobs must be anticipated to continue for at least two years.
- To be full time, the position has to provide a minimum of 35 hours per week of work for the employee. This excludes a combination of part-time jobs, but it allows for job sharing. While a part-time position is one whose duties take less than 35 hours per week to complete, job sharing means the hours required to fulfil the responsibilities of one full-time position are divided between multiple people.
- To be qualified, an employee must be a US citizen or permanent resident other than the EB-5 investor and his/her dependent family. This excludes non-immigrant residents and immigrants who cannot lawfully work in the US.
Two Years to Achieve the Goal
The investor must have his or her funds fully committed to the project and a dependable business plan ready to go, including the means to create 10 new jobs within two years, prior to filing Form I-526.
I-526 approval results in conditional permanent residency. After two years, the investor will need to prove that the necessary jobs were saved or created as part of the I-829 application to remove the conditions.
Need more details about EB-5 job creation requirements and how to fulfil them? EB5 Economist can answer your questions.