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How might small businesses and startups find direct EB-5 investors?

Finding EB-5 investors generally requires some form of marketing. One option is to contact a migration agency that can promote the business to foreign investors. Before a small business or startup markets a project to potential EB-5 investors, however, the business should retain an immigration attorney with EB-5 experience to ensure compliance with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidelines. Moreover, an immigration attorney can evaluate whether the EB-5 project will be attractive to foreign investors. Securities counsel should also be consulted to ensure compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations throughout the marketing process.

Many EB-5 project developers choose to work with foreign migration agents, whose services can be invaluable for raising EB-5 capital. Since these migration agents will be working abroad, the project developers must be aware of the laws and regulations regarding immigration consulting or solicitation activities. All migration agents must have the licenses or permits required by the countries in which they will work. Even though the SEC does not require broker-dealer registration for migration agents working abroad, this regulation may apply to agents who engage in activities in the United States.

Since migration agents may not speak English fluently, it is critical that they understand the hiring agreement and marketing materials. These documents will need to be translated. Moreover, project developers should ensure that their migration agents use only the approved marketing materials; if a migration agent provides inaccurate or misleading information, the EB-5 project may be held responsible.

It is also essential for EB-5 projects to develop an appealing package of marketing materials and an overall marketing plan. The marketing plan should be adapted to the project’s target market. EB-5 marketing materials can include printed documents, online presentations, and videos. Often, EB-5 investors learn about projects through informational seminars hosted by migration agents.