EB5 Investors Magazine Volume 2 Issue 2 | Page 68

Continued from page 65 and capital gains are not withdrawn , the investor can maintain residency in Hong Kong . In this model , however , even though the capital is safely parked away , the investor is precluded from drawing upon the funds . As such , the investor will need other sources of disposable income for his or her day-to-day living .
In a different model altogether , some countries realized that they would not only be able attract capital to their cash-strapped economies , but they could prop up their struggling housing markets by capitalizing on the real estate hunger of foreign investors ( particularly those that hail from China ). In return for a shot at residency , Greece asks investors to spend at least € 250,000 on property ; the UAE requires at least $ 275,000 in property acquisition ( though this investment form precludes the investor from being eligible to work in the UAE unless the investor opens a business in Dubai ’ s free trade zone ); Cyprus requires at least a € 300,000 property acquisition ; both the island federations of St . Kitts & Nevis and Antigua & Barbuda permit $ 400,000 property acquisitions ; while Portugal and Spain require at least € 500,000 in property acquisitions to qualify for their respective programs . Even if the value of the real estate declines because of an economic slump , the investor is not unfavorably penalized as compared with certain job creating programs that may lose the required job numbers .
Residency or passport ? And how long will it take ?
Aside from cost considerations , a rather important factor relates to the length of time it takes for the investor to see the fruits of his or her investment . An increasingly common complaint voiced by EB-5 investors stems from USCIS ’ s processing times and the extended period that investors must wait to be granted permanent residency . Yet , the practice of first granting temporary / conditional residency for a few years prior to authorizing permanent residency and / or citizenship is quite common . The average length of time for this transition ranges between two to seven years , worldwide . As such , the United States ’ transition period is competitively attractive .
On the other hand , there are a handful of countries that allow investors to purchase fast-track options . For example , the United Kingdom and Bulgaria allow a shorter permanent residence to citizenship period with a greater investment amount .
There are even some investment programs that lead to direct citizenship . Malta ’ s € 500,000 investment ( into a combination of property and bonds ) allows full citizenship after the application is processed . Austria ’ s much heftier € 2 million charity donation or € 10 million investment similarly provides direct citizenship . The same holds true for islands of Antigua & Barbuda , Dominica , Grenada , and St . Kitts & Nevis . Using these latter models , the investor is theoretically able to “ buy ” a passport .
Cultural integration
The issue of physical presence and integration is a rather tricky one . On the one hand , certain countries , such as Spain , require that the investor spend a significant amount of time each year within its borders . On the other hand , Portugal only requires that the investor spend 7-14 days a year in the country ( depending on the residency year in question ), but requires a minimum comprehension of the language prior to applying for citizenship .
For example , one of the largest groups of prospective immigrant investors searching for new homes hails from China . While this group does prize real estate and economic opportunities , policies that require integration or the lack of an existing Chinese population in the relevant host country could be a deterrent . Immigrants , after settling in a new country , commonly yearn for some cultural familiarity ; language , culture , food , and other familiar vestiges are prized . If language skills and cultural assimilation are required by a host country , it could whittle down the group of those able or willing to meet the relevant standards . Furthermore , it could turn into a deterrent to even those investors that are able to meet such requirements if eligible investors are interested in a large expatriate community . Essentially , the effect of deterring a small portion of the group could theoretically alienate almost the whole lot .
Ultimately , just how appealing is the host country ?
At the end of the day , once an investor categorizes the most important factors , each program is compared against the overall economic and cultural appeal of the relevant country . The United States has always been synonymous with the American Dream and has generally been one of the most attractive destinations . This holds particularly true in light of the shuttered Canadian program . However , with the rise of competing investor programs and the looming Chinese quota retrogression that is predicted to hit within the next fiscal year , the EB-5 program will face some market challenges . While the program does not have a gloomy forecast , EB-5 practitioners should be aware that investors have a lot of options . As an advocacy goal , we should strive to make the program more attractive as opposed to encouraging increasingly onerous requirements . After all , in this business , the United States ’ loss is another country ’ s gain .

Rohit Kapuria is an associate in the Philadelphia office of Klasko , Rulon , Stock & Seltzer , LLP and a member of the firm ’ s EB-5 practice . He currently represents developers and foreign investors under the EB-5 program . Prior to entering the legal field , Rohit worked as an economist for a non-profit organization . He can be reached at rkapuria @
Rohit Kapuria klaskolaw . com .
66 EB5 Investors Magazine