EB5 Investors Magazine "Top 25 Awards Edition" Volume 8 Issue 1 | Page 29

WINNERS LISTED ALPHABETICALLY TOP IMMIGRATION AT TORNEYS ELSIE HUI ARIAS IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS EB5 INVESTORS MAGAZINE E lsie Hui Arias is a partner of Stone Grzegorek & Gonzalez LLP (“SGG”), a full- service immigration law firm in Los Angeles, California. She has been certified as a specialist in immigration and nationality law by the State Bar of California since 2007 and has particular expertise in EB-5 investor and business immigration. She advises regional centers in preparing investment offerings, applying for initial and amended regional center designations, and developing strategies in tackling complex issues that emerge during the EB-5 process. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Davis School of Law. HOW DO YOU THINK THE EB-5 PROGRAM SHOULD BE REFORMED? The EB-5 program is long overdue for critical reform to ensure the integrity of regional center participants, as well as to advance and safeguard the due process and interests of individual EB-5 investors who have – in good faith – invested their savings and family’s future in the United States. Congress should also finally make the EB-5 program permanent, as it serves as a critical source of investment capital and generates job creation, which is exceptionally important given the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the U.S. economy. Neither developers nor investors will invest time or resources in a program that lacks stability. WHAT NEW TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? COVID-19 ravaged much of the economy, especially the hospitality industry, which significantly benefited from EB-5 capital. We are seeing distressed projects where hotel revenues have plummeted, imperiling operations and job creation, or where construction has stalled due to shelter-in- place orders or disruption in the flow of EB-5 funding or senior financing. Also, as a result of pandemic-related travel restrictions to the United States, immigration through the EB-5 category essentially halted in the latter half of FY 2020. But Q1, 2021, presents a brighter outlook, with the availability of vaccinations, reopening of local economies, and resumption of visa processing at U.S. consulates. EDWARD BESHARA IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS EB5 INVESTORS MAGAZINE E dward Beshara is with the Beshara PA Global Migration Law Firm, which was established in 1983. He has offered approvable and successful solutions via his firm to EB-5 investors and their families, and successfully handled EB-5 direct and regional center projects. Beshara is a member of the IIUSA (Invest in the USA) New Investor Markets and Best Practices Committees as well as being on the Advisory Committee and Task Force of the Investment Migration Council (IMC) in Geneva, Switzerland. He is a former adjunct professor in business immigration law at the University of Florida’s College of Law. He was the recipient of the IIUSA 2019 Award for Economic Advancement "Innovator Award". HOW DO YOU THINK THE EB-5 PROGRAM SHOULD BE REFORMED? adhered to. USCIS should review the EB-5 adjudicate exemplar project approval within 60 days. Expedited processing of I-526 petitions within 30 days and processing for conditional permanent residency status within 60 days. Then there would be an increase in economic activity, a decrease in unemployment and substantial benefit to the U.S. WHAT NEW TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? The impact of the COVID pandemic has created a downturn in economic activity within the U.S. and globally. Therefore, potential EB-5 investors are currently concerned about protecting their wealth. EB-5 investors have maintained and increased their wealth by investing in stocks which are on their countries or other countries stock exchange and in real estate. U.S. companies can provide a loan to the EB-5 investors in U.S. dollars against the EB-5 investors assets to commit to an EB-5 project. There is a trend, that the EB-5 investors would like to control their own funds in their own EB-5 projects. It is imperative that the EB-5 laws should require independent due diligence, compliance and integrity provisions to be EB5INVESTORS.COM 29