EB-5 needs to improve its PR — and USCIS needs to remember the program isn’t just about immigration but job creation

  • Posted on May 13, 2020 | Updated on May 13, 2020 | 5 min read

EB-5 business plan writer Suzanne Lazicki writes that even though EB-5 is exactly what the U.S. needs now, it doesn’t fit current political agendas. For politicians to back the program, she says EB-5 needs to improve its public relations. And Congress, she states, needs to make the program more attractive to foreign investors with more visas, lower investment thresholds, and better efficiency.

Our oft-quoted and referenced EB-5 expert Suzanne Lazicki usually has a good tale to tell breaking down the numbers. This time, she shares no spreadsheet, just cool and calculated logic. She tells us that EB-5 is what the country’s economic recovery needs. But there are many problems other than a deadly virus getting in the way.

Citing the letter signed by four U.S. senators to urge Trump to suspend the EB-5 program, she notes that the program — so far — has not suffered any real harm. But that’s not enough. She argues that the program doesn’t just need to spared but fully supported at this most critical moment in U.S. history.

EB-5 doesn’t fit the immediate political agendas of the right or the left

Everyone in the industry knows that a program that brings foreign capital to U.S. businesses to create U.S. jobs can be beneficial to the economy. But with an election approaching, Lazicki reminds us of the unfortunate reality right now: what EB-5 represents is more valuable to politicians than what the program actually does. The Republicans need any and all immigration to be perceived as a social and economic villain; and Democrats don’t want to be seen supporting business interests first and foremost — especially, as Lazicki says, when the immigrants involved are not “limping across the border but shopping at Nordstrom.”

Spread the word: EB-5 makes U.S. businesses and U.S. citizens work

What then, is the answer for EB-5? Lazicki declares that the Green Card by investment industry needs to do a far better job at education and public relations. “The EB-5 program would get more education and support if people realized what it is and does.” U.S. entrepreneurs use EB-5 capital to make their business projects work. And foreign investors only get their visas if U.S. citizens work. 

As a secondary message, EB-5 needs to advertise the fact that investors are often upper-middle-class professionals. Despite the plethora of negative headlines and false narratives from those who oppose the program, the program’s truths are simple and compelling. But they need to known. When this happens, Lazicki says then politicians will offer their support for the program.

EB-5 is a good thing — here are 6 ways it can still get better

While Lazicki believes in EB-5 she isn’t singing its praises as a perfect program. She acknowledges several issues need to be addressed:

  1. The program needs to be more active in distressed areas around the country, as per the original Congressional intent.
  2. New project petitions needs prompt adjudication.
  3. Likewise, investor petitions need “predictable and timely treatment, so foreign investors trust the program”.
  4. EB-5 needs to be more appealing to investors so it can compete with similar programs in other countries.
  5. Congress needs to increase the number of visas available. 
  6. Congress needs to reverse the increase in investment amounts.

The vital truth: EB-5 is ‘not simply an immigration program’

Lazicki knows what all of us in the industry know: our program can be part of the cure for the grave economic illness which afflicts the U.S. But we need to do a better job of telling the country about what EB-5 really is. And USCIS needs to remember “it’s administering an investment-based program that involves the fate of U.S. businesses and jobs, not simply an immigration program.”

Read Lazicki’s blog post “Unleashing the economic and job creation benefit of EB-5”