However, for EB-5 purposes these structures in most
cases would not meet source of fund requirements
under the EB-5 program.
In addition, Ukrainian residents are not allowed to
exchange more than approximately $5,000 per day
in hard currency, which is a marked liberalization of
the $500 limit that was in place until earlier this year.
As a result, even in the best of scenarios it would
take roughly 100 days just to exchange the required
amount of local currency to dollars.
Generally, the currency and banking regulations
in Kazakhstan are liberal enough to not create
significant problems for potential EB-5 investors.
Nonetheless, there are some limitations that could
create some challenges depending on the investor’s
Most recently with Kazakh investors, it has been noticed
that for transactions involving the purchase of real
estate above $100,000, a certificate (“свидетельство”)
from the Central Bank is required.2 This requirement can
be obviated if the investor, for example, simply transfers
the funds to his or her personal account overseas from
which he then wires the funds to the EB-5 project.
Moreover, as noted above, the regulations -- as well
as their interpretations by the banks -- seem to vary
from time to time and by bank to bank, making long-
term planning somewhat difficult. Difficulties in other
regional markets are generally less difficult, although
the lack of transparency not only for investors but also
the banks themselves often leads to unpredictable
demands by the banks.
And even within one country the demands can vary
from bank to bank and their interpretations of the
regulations. Thus, investors sometimes inquire at
various banks where they have accounts to find the
least burdensome options.
For example, in the past some banks have required
Russian-language translations of the partnership or
other offering documents to prove the validity and
purpose of the investment.
Most investors are very reticent to disclose the
immigration component of the EB-5 transaction given
the negative political connotations. Therefore, they
generally only provide documentation related to the
offering and investment which make no reference to
the EB-5 program.
Given the number of high net-worth individuals in
Russia, it is clear that latent opportunities exist to
attract greater numbers of EB-5 investors. Vietnam
perhaps serves as an example of how the Russian
market could also rapidly ascend in the EB-5 country
rankings, all the more so given the much larger and
more affluent client base to work with in Russia.
The most needed steps at this point are concerted
efforts by all stakeholders in the EB-5 community to
rectify misperceptions about EB-5 in these markets
and raise its general market profile and familiarity
among agents and investors alike.
Charles Raether is the managing
partner of AmLaw Group, a boutique
business immigration law firm in
Miami. AmLaw advises on EB -
5, L-1, EB-1 and other investor and
business-related visas. Raether, who is fluent in Russian,
has worked in the areas of corporate law, venture capital
and private equity. Previously, he worked for a global
real estate consultancy in Moscow and Kazakhstan and
served at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he
oversaw cross-border business development with the
markets of the former Soviet Union.