Many have heard the term regional centre but very few actually know anything about it. It is important to know about a Regional Centre (RC) as much as the project you are contemplating to invest in. This publication does not contain comments on any one regional centre over the other; rather it is focusing on the broader know-how on the RC and some interesting statistics which clients have always asked to us.
Regional centres are geography driven. That however doesn’t mean that a particular regional centre would have exclusivity over a particular geography. It simply means that the regional centre is garnering investments into the geography it is mapped with. The same regional centre would need to obtain a separate permission if it were to fetch investments in a nearby state which is not a part of its permissible proximity. And this is why you may come across multiple RCs with slightly different names, but all belonging technically to the same ‘group entity’. A layman investor may at times not even realise that the two different RCs he is talking to are a part of the same group structure.
As of the date of publication of this article, there are 835 registered regional centres. This number is officially reported by USCIS. Interestingly, in 2010, the total number of approved regional centres was not even 100. The last 7 years have seen an unprecedented growth in the setting up of economical units, aka RC. Due to an enormous increase in applications, the wait time at USCIS which used to be just 5 months, each for I-526 and I-829, went up to 12 months, and then 18 months, and which as on the date of publication of this article stands at ~24 months. This is due to rising number of applications made world-wide, with China taking the lead, followed by India.
Majority of the visas allotted under the EB5 scheme till date pertain to those under the regional centre program. Whether this is a coincidence or an outcome of an input-output ratio is immaterial; the bottom line is that majority of the applicants who got their green cards in the last 15 years pertains to those cases which involved investments via an economic unit (and not where investments were made directly without the involvement of a regional centre).
A direct investment permits the requirement of job fulfilment only through creation of direct jobs. Unlike that, a regional centre program was floated by USCIS in 1992 which allowed applicants to invest via an economic unit and which would also allow for extrapolation of indirect jobs while ascertaining the fulfilment job creation requirement. Indirect jobs would further include operational jobs, and construction / capex driven jobs.
Coming to some important statistics now, as we face questions related to it several times in a year, please find the table below (updated as on 27/10/2017):
|PERIOD||PETITIONS BY STATUS OF THE CASE|
|Fiscal Year - Total|
|Fiscal Year 2017 by Quarter|
One should not be biased to any particular RC. Keep your eyes and ears open, and surf through the investment options placed by various RCs. A comprehensive due diligence should be conducted on the RC, as well as on the investment which it brings on table; that is the only way you will be able to safeguard your hard earned money.
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