Regional Centers

  • The minimum required investment is $800,000 for Regional Center projects located in targeted employment areas or $1,050,000 for projects in non-targeted employment areas.
  • The Regional Center is able to count direct, indirect, and induced jobs for purposes of satisfying the legal requirement of creation of 10 jobs. Although the new law only permits up to 90% of the indirect jobs to be counted and places limits on construction-related jobs, it does not substantially change the underlying attraction of the Regional Center. Because it does allow the counting of indirect jobs, this significantly decreases the risk that there will be a problem in having the condition removed after two years. This contrasts with non-RC projects, which can only count direct jobs.
  • The management companies of the Regional Centers are usually operated by American specialists in their respective areas (e.g., commercial real estate, corporate finance), and thus more adept at ensuring the viability of the investment and satisfaction of the job creation requirements.
  • The investor can play a passive role in the investment and does not have to directly participate in the daily management of the enterprise. In other words, the Regional Centers operate the project on behalf of the investor on a turnkey basis.
  • The types of Regional Centers projects run the gamut. They include the construction of hotels, apartment buildings, shopping malls, convention centers, attractions, office towers, warehouses, nursing homes, schools, and infrastructure. Projects possess the potential for annual returns on investment with return rates varying.
  • Because the projects are commercial, they are subject to commercial risk. The investor can lose some or all of his investment. If the project does not meet its job creation obligations, it is possible that the investor does not receive his permanent green card (although USCIS statistics show that, traditionally, 95–99% of investors receive their permanent green cards).
  • Inactive and unscrupulous Regional Centers are subject to termination by USCIS.