EB5 Investors Magazine "Top 25 issue" Volume 9 Issue 1 - Page 76

TOP EB-5 INDUSTRY RISING STARS
PHUONG LE
KLD LLP

Phuong Le is a founding member and partner with KLD LLP . He has over 15 years of experience and helps lead a global EB-5 practice group . He draws upon an extensive background advising parties on all sides of EB-5 transactions , including regional centers and direct EB-5 investments , project developers , agents , and investors . His clients span the globe and he has advised on over 5,000 investor petitions and over $ 2.5 billion in EB-5 financing for projects across the U . S ., including commercial real estate , multifamily , charter schools , hotels , and publicly-traded franchises . He frequently travels and shares his knowledge regarding complex EB-5 matters as a lecturer , author , and EB-5 expert witness for other firms and the EB-5 industry .

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU EXPERIENCING FOLLOWING THE EB-5 REAUTHORIZATION ?
I think there is a clear demand from projects that are able to harness the benefits of the new rules to speed up processing for investors – whether that ' s being in a rural area , to specially qualified for expedited processing , etc . For all its benefits , the biggest headache families have had is the lack of predictable processing times that prevent them from being able to plan when they can enter the U . S ., buy property , and enroll their kids in school . That ’ s why these projects will be in demand pre-investment and post-investment , people are definitely seeing mandamus as an effective and necessary option to push their case through the logjam .
HOW DO YOU THINK THE PANDEMIC HAS IMPACTED THE EB-5 INDUSTRY ?
COVID has certainly affected the industry , in both negative and positive ways . It mostly has changed how people view risk . From a negative viewpoint , we see certain asset classes that were hugely popular before all but lose their support overnight , namely food & beverage and hotels . People are understandably wary about how these businesses will do if there ’ s another pandemic and are hesitant about investing in them . On the flipside , COVID has also shown how the industry will adapt – webinars are now a routine marketing tool and effectively supplement the big in-person seminars – and COVID has also driven EB-5 demand because lockdowns have made people realize no matter how wealthy you are , there ’ s only so much freedom and mobility you have in your country if there ’ s another shutdown . Thus , despite EB-5 ’ s increased price , we also see more demand .
ANIBAL SANCHEZ
DARREN SILVER & ASSOCIATES

Anibal Sanchez is a partner at Darren Silver & Associates , LLP and has exclusively practiced immigration law throughout his legal career . As the managing partner of the firm ’ s EB-5 practice , he has worked with thousands of individual EB-5 investors . He has counseled many regional centers and U . S . businesses on EB-5 related issues . Sanchez also represents a wide variety of businesses and works with entrepreneurs , foreign executives , and highly skilled workers in all business-related immigration matters . A member of AILA , Sanchez is certified by the State Bar of California , Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in immigration and nationality law .

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU EXPERIENCING FOLLOWING THE EB-5 REAUTHORIZATION ?
The diversity of clients interested in pursuing EB-5 has increased dramatically . Our practice has received inquiries from clients from all over the world – even China given the glimmer of hope provided by the rural TEA set aside . It appears as if demand for EB-5 increased during the lapse in the program , and once the minimum investment threshold was codified at $ 800,000 , many prospective investors reached out to inquire on the process . The interest has been strong for both investors who are focused on regional center associated projects and investors who are interested in direct projects .
HOW DO YOU THINK THE PANDEMIC HAS IMPACTED THE EB-5 INDUSTRY ?
The pandemic clearly slowed demand from investors for EB-5 visas . It immediately followed the later overturned regulations increasing the minimum investment amount to $ 900,000 . These two factors slowed investor interest in 2020 to a crawl compared to prior years . This lack of investor demand and other economic factors caused by the pandemic will likely impact the number of project operators interested in taking projects to market . Those regional centers and project operators who are well-established and able to weather the storm of the past two years will be well-positioned to meet new investor demand moving forward .
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