The original EB-5 program (often called “Direct EB-5s”) requires that an investor invest a minimum of $1 million dollars to obtain conditional permanent residency (called an “I-526 filing”) and then two years later show the creation of 10 direct jobs to remove the conditions and obtain true permanent residency (called the “I-829 filing”). This means that at the I-829 filing, the investor has to show through payroll records and I-9s and other documentation that 10 or more jobs were actually created, among other technical requirements. The $1 million minimum requirement can be reduced to $500,000 if the Regional Center’s project is located in what is called a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). All of this still holds true and Direct EB-5s are still filed. Direct EB-5s, however, account for less than 10% of all EB-5s filed nowadays. This is because through the Regional Center Pilot Program has one great advantage over the Direct EB-5s: the USCIS will allow the counting of “indirect” jobs created through the project.
This is achieved through various economic models such as RIMS II or IMPLAN. Without going into too much detail, basically the USCIS will accept indirect job numbers that can be deduced through the amount of investment, the location of the proposed project and the particular industry cluster that the project belongs to. Therefore, at the I-829 stage, the investor only has to show that the project went ahead according to the original business plan with the required funds expended to meet the job creation requirement.
Admittedly this is a very simplified explanation of the process, but suffice it to say that this is a good thing – and sure beats gathering payroll information for all the employees, keeping track of construction jobs, and then finding out that one of the employees had false papers so can’t be counted.