Popular in China
And why are EB-5 programs growing? And why are they so popular in China? According to a 3/16/10 Real Estate Channel article headlined EB-5 Visa Program Sparking Foreign Real Estate Investor Activity, it's because the program offers cheap money for real estate and few burdens for investors.
The number of "regional centers" has more than doubled in the last year, often focusing on real estate projects, anything from office buildings to ski resorts in Vermont.Or, to quote Gregg D. Hayden of the NYCRC, immigrant investor programs in other countries "have certain meaningful requirements that the U.S. program does not have."
"It's very cheap money," said Chaim Katzap, chief executive of Lion's Property Development, which has offices in New York and China. "I think it is the best way today to raise equity."
Using the EB-5 program, Katzap helped raise $60 million from 100 foreign investors for the Brooklyn Navy Yards redevelopment in New York, which is a designated regional center.
EB-5 is particularly appealing to wealthy Chinese, who may already have family members working or living in the United States, Katzap says.
"EB-5 does not require language skills, does not require that you work here or that you live here full time," he said.