Vietnam’s Last $500,000 EB-5 Investors Rush to Beat December Program Expiration

From Jose Latour:

Last week, American Venture Solutions completed what I can only describe as the most important and satisfying milestone of our 7 years as an EB-5 Regional Center: seeing our very FIRST investor and his family procure their PERMANENT U.S. Residency…and returning his $500,000 investment as promised.

Today, I am in Saigon scrambling  with Monica and AVS VIetnam’s team to accomodate the very last AVS EB-5 investors who hope to come in at the same $500,000 TEA investment amount as our first investor, and all who came after him.  After December 7th rolls around,  our next investors will most likely have to come up with $1,300,000 to as EB-5 immigrant investors.  Yes, it’s a HUGE jump in price…but remember that the $500,000 figure has remain unchanged since the early 1990s.

For Vietnamese investors facing the uncertainty of the backlog, this is a very confusing time to consider EB-5.  I hope to shed some light on what you should be looking at today in order to help you decide whether or not the mad scramble to get in before December 7 is right for you and your family.  

For years I have been saying that despite the big potential market for EB-5 in Vietnam, Vietnamese investors are TOTALLY different in their decision making compared to the giant Chinese market, upon which Big EB-5 (think “Manhattan fake TEAs”) has engorged itself for so many years.  Vietnamese migration agents can bully and lie just as well as Chinese agents…but Vietnamese investors are more discerning.  They analyze independently and make their own decisions (well, at least all the ones with which AVS has been so fortunate to find!)

I can’t imagine the amount of money spent in the past year by these giant projects hosting event after event in Vietnam, only to sit in a roomful of OTHER competing projects who also paid good money as event sponsors.   We learned a long time agon that to cultivate the Vietnam EB-5 (and, more recently, the Citizenship-By-Investment/Investor passport) market, it is necessary to establish a visible, transparent, and permanent market presence to show investors that what is promised today will be delivered tomorrow.  No shortcuts, no free Ipads from AVS. Just the results we promise.

My long-standing theory on the Vietnam market was recently validated when USCIS released historical EB-5 filing figures for the past few fiscal years: despite the fact that every single EB-5 event marketer has referred to Vietnam as “the next China” and made a fortune doing so, in the past year, the number of Vietnam EB-5 applicants actually went DOWN:  only 480 Vietnamese EB-5 investors filed I-526 petitions in fiscal year 2018….36 LESS Vietnamese investors than the PRIOR YEAR, 2017?

The reason: Vietnam entered the EB-5 backlog last spring and between the confusion that triggered, a tidal wave of EB-5 marketing hitting Vietnam, the non-stop seminars and constant stream of news regarding EB-5 violators and scams, Vietnamese investors did what smart investors do in times of chaos…they stepped back to let things play out.  So, today, with a little over a month before the new regulation proposes to raise the minimum price of admission from $500,000 to $1,300,000, what SHOULD a Vietnamese investor considering EB-5 do?  Here are my thoughts:

1- For Vietnamese families with pre-teen children – let’s say 13 or under — the time to invest in EB-5 is NOW.  The reasons are clear:  the price will more than double, and the combination of decreased demand from China and promising reforms will likely mean that Vietnam queue will not grow and may even shrink, so having your conditional residency for the family in time for the kids to start high school or college there looks pretty likely.  While we are not 100% certain the price increase will pass in December, it is coming soon.  WIth several competing bills under review, the ONLY way to insure entry at the $500,000 price point is to invest NOW.

2- For Vietnamese families with high school age children:  as someone who has been offering EB-5 solutions for so many years, it is difficult to say this but my sincere best advice at this point is “don’t do it.”  Without getting into the complexity of the CSPA and how your teenage kids might NOT be protected after they turn 18, odds are that what you care about most is in their future…and EB-5 through your investment as a parent will likely NOT get it done.  Accordingly, for this second group of investors with high school age kids, I believe the best option is via the Grenada CBI/E-2 Treaty Trader Visa program LatourLaw has developed specifically for our Vietnamese clients.  This allows the family and extended family 1) procure the freedom and tax protection of Grenada nationality while 2) permitting family members to structure E-2 investments such as small franchises, etc., permitting the entire family a stable route to living and working in the U.S.  With Grenada E-2 visas having a 5 year duration, family members can “test drive” life in the U.S. and, if they desire, later transition to permanent residency through EB-5 either via their own business or a Regional Center program.

P.S. As I recently mentioned in here, I am optimistic that Ira Kurzban’s lawsuit , which last week was granted class action status by federal judge, can finally correct the law to reflect that when Congress came up with the EB-5, they meant 10,000 primary investors per year, not 10,000 investors plus family members; if he succeeds, this will have very positive results for both China and VIetnam investors in that it could potentially eliminate the backlog.