Brazil and EB-5 by the numbers

Brazil and EB-5 by the numbers By Renata Castro, Project Manager at Exclusive Visas In recent years I have been repeatedly asked about official numbers for EB-5 pertaining to Brazilian Investors' I-526 filings. It shouldn't come as a surprise - as the number of EB-5 offerings increased radically, and the cost (and availability) of raising EB-5 in China became more and more pervasive, EB-5 Regional Centers, Projects, Franchises, and Immigration attorneys alike began pursuing a new frontier for their EB-5 related marketing efforts. Brazil, for several reasons, has been a strong contender to other more established EB-5 markets, for a few reasons:
  • Brazilians (unless those with dual citizenship) do not qualify for E-2 visas;
  • Brazilians have also been eliminated from the green card lottery recently;
  • Growing political turmoil in Brazil, paired with a long history of mismanagement of public funds and corruption;
  • Violence; among other things.
EB-5, when Exclusive Visas first visited Brazil around three years ago, was relatively new to Brazilians. I recall spending countless hours translating conversations between prospective EB-5 investors and immigration attorneys that were mostly related to the basics of EB-5. Now EB-5 investors are much more sophisticated, asking questions that are more elaborate, resulting from a year-long (usually) exploration of EB-5 as a viable immigration option (not necessarily a review of projects). The numbers, as shown below, can be interpreted as a strong indicator of a few trends, which I will discuss below: Receipts, Approvals, and Denials for Brazil - Fiscal Year 2005 to 2014[1]
FY Receipts Approvals Denials
2005 2 0 2
2006 1 1 0
2007 2 1 1
2008 7 0 0
2009 8 11 1
2010 10 5 1
2011 11 6 2
2012 18 13 1
2013 19 9 0
2014 47 17 3
Grand Total 125 63 11
Report Date and Data Queried: November 18, 2104 Data type: Receipts, Approvals, and Denials by Fiscal Year with a country of birth of Brazil, Form Type I-526. It's important to analyze this data not in light of numbers from China, which is a mature and organized EB-5 market. Brazilians have the ability to hit double digits in EB-5 petitions very soon, and here's why I am placing on my bets on this blooming EB-5 market:
  • In spite of the exchange rates terrible turn for the worse from 2012 to 2014, EB-5 petitions have doubled. In 2012, US$ 1 = R$ 1, 79. In 2014, US$ 1 = R$ 2,80. It costs almost double for Brazilians to do EB-5 today than it did in 2012, and yet numbers continue to rise.
  • Although there are a considerable number of denials, they are likely from direct EB-5 petitions. EB-5 investors from Brazil tend to explore direct EB-5 more aggressively than their Chinese counterparts, however, a growing number of more educated EB-5 investors has come to realize that Regional Center -affiliated projects tend to offer a higher likelihood of approval.
  • Inquiries from Brazil have continue to grow, as reported by Regional Centers and Franchises across the USA
  • EB-5 capital out of Brazil tends to come at a lower cost for projects as there aren't any intermediaries.
  • Brazilian investors tend to visit projects in the USA prior to making an investment decision. This causes considerable delays in the process, for practical reasons.
[1] Source: FOIA request received on November 25, 2014 issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

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