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新提案就业要求严苛,EB-5大多项目将被釜底抽薪
作者: 发布于:2015-7-27 16:37:24 点击量:

新提案就业要求严苛,EB-5大多项目将被釜底抽薪

昆明移民公司

    新提案所带来的影响还在继续发酵,随着业内专家们一步步地解读新提案的条文,并且开始引用至EB-5项目融资实践中,新提案中的就业创造条款,应该被认为是涨价与TEA之后,与资金证明列第三第四位的苛刻条款。

    今天移民专家找来的是,Catherine DeBono Holmes和Victor T. Shum律师的文章,作为协助项目融资的资深律师,他们就新提案中的就业创造条款,做了深入的解读和批评,对于我们理解新提案,以及分析今后EB-5项目走向,非常有参考价值,特分享给各位朋友们参考。

    EB-5预警:参议院新提案对就业创造要求的改变将减少美国建筑项目的融资

    参议院发起的对EB-5区域中心计划重新授权的提案,将限制可以使用EB-5融资的项目类型,以及可使用EB-5融资的额度。

    2015年6月4日,参议院发起的“2015美国就业及投资促进改革法案”提案,包含了一些加强对EB-5项目监管的条款,但是,同时提案也包括了,一些将使很多建筑项目没有资格通过EB-5项目融资的条款,而其他那些可以获得EB-5融资的建筑项目,也将大大减少其融资额度。

    具体的说,这些条款将改变,决定项目是否可以获得EB-5融资的就业计算方式,以及每个项目可以计算在内的就业数量。提案本身或者发起这个提案的参议员,并未解释为什么他们认为这些改变是必须的,或者他们认为这些改变将如何改善EB-5计划。

    事实上,我们认为这些改变十分不明智,从而应当从提案中删除,因为这将减少外国投资与就业增长,并且伤害美国的中小企业,使得他们无法获得十分需要的资金,从而与EB-5计划的初衷背道而驰。

    仅允许就业创造中的90%来自于间接就业的提议,将事实上阻止所有工期少于两年且完工后没有运营的建筑项目获取EB-5融资。

    提案中有条款规定,为获得EB-5融资,最多有90%的就业可为间接就业。现在的EB-5项目对直接就业和间接就业的比例没有任何规定,而只是简单的要求每个投资人创造至少10个就业岗位。

    如果,提案中的这个条款被通过,那么意味着每个EB-5项目至少有10%的就业需要是直接就业岗位。提案里并没说明,这指的是EB-5投资人投资的实体必须有直接雇员(如W-2表格的雇员),还是项目必须包含经济模型如RIMS II或IMPLAN所计算的直接影响的雇员(移民专家注:这里指,经济模型导出的直接就业,严格意义上还是属于间接就业)。

    我们猜测应该指的是后者,因为如果指的是EB-5投资人所投资的实体必须有直接雇员的话,那将是一个极度严重的限制,因为大多数的EB-5投资实体都是作为特定项目的融资工具而成立的,他们自己并不是任何雇员的雇主。

    即使这个条款指的是,项目必须包含经济模型里的直接影响雇员,这也会自动地排除很多建筑项目。这是因为,EB-5相关的条例不允许,工期低于两年的建筑项目在使用EB-5资金时计算任何直接就业。因此,那些打算用作运营企业的比如酒店、饭店或辅助生活的地产开发商可以满足这条至少10%直接雇员的要求,因为这些项目在他们的运营阶段将有直接雇员。除此之外,建筑工期超过两年的建筑项目也可以满足这个要求,因为这些项目可以计算直接建筑就业。

    然而,我们不明白为什么会有至少10%的直接就业的要求,因为这个要求的后果是:将自动的排除工期在两年以内的多户住宅、公寓楼住宅、办公楼或其他商业开发项目的EB-5项目。并且,因为规模小、工期短的两年内完成的项目是在经济欠发达的社区最易存活的项目,这个规定从而看起来与EB-5项目促进就业和经济发展的意图背道而驰。

    将非EB-5资金创造的就业计算,限制在不超过所有就业岗位的30%的提议,将严重的减少很多项目可以使用EB-5融资的额度,并且最终影响到这些项目能否建成。

    提案中有条款规定,EB-5投资人所能计算的,非外国企业家(EB-5投资人在议案中被称为“外国企业家”——译者注)投入的资金所创造的就业占总就业的百分比,不能超过非外国企业家所提供的资金占总投资金额的百分比,并且不能超过所有就业的30%,即使非外国企业家的投资金额超过了30%。

    提案中对“非外国企业家”并没有给出定义,因而不清楚这个术语是仅指EB-5项目中的股权投资人而不包括商业贷款人,还是包括项目的所有贷款和股权资金提供者。当今典型的EB-5地产开发项目中,高级贷款人一般提供高达项目总成本50%的贷款,而EB-5投资人投入20%至30%,开发商提供剩余的资金。因此,在一个典型的EB-5地产开发项目中,如果高级贷款人的投资不算作非外国企业家提供的资金的话,则自动将可以计算的就业降低了50%,也将最多可以募集的EB-5资金额度相应的降低了50%。商业贷款人所提供的贷款融资越多,EB-5资金的上限被降低的也越多。

    如果,非外国企业家被解释为,所有非EB-5来源的贷款和股权资本,那么可以计算的就业被降低后与项目中EB-5所占比例成正比。也就是说,如果EB-5资金是项目资金的10%,那么项目只能计算10%加上最多30%的就业,一共为40%。如果EB-5资金占项目总资金的20%,那么项目可以计算20%加上所有就业的30%,总计50%的就业岗位,以此类推。可计算的就业比例的降低将直接导致,任何项目所能募集的EB-5资金上限的降低,这是基于每个EB-5投资人10个就业岗位的基本计算模式。因此,一个EB-5资金占比30%的项目仅能计算总就业60%,从而其在现在的EB-5项目下,可以募集的EB-5资金上限会被降低,仅等于现在可募集上限的60%。

    上述提议,将导致EB-5融资的一种死循环式螺旋,因为募集的EB-5资金额度越少,项目可以计算的就业岗位越少。例如,如果一个项目想要募集30%的EB-5资金,但是由于提案所作的改变将导致可计算的就业数量不够,那么项目只能募集占总投资金额20%的EB-5资金,这样可计算的就业又相应的减少了10%,这有可能导致,即使只募集20%的EB-5资金时,可计算的就业数量还是不够。

    这并不一定会影响,有相当多就业盈余的项目募集EB-5资金,而这样的项目一般都是规模最大工期最长的建筑项目(移民专家注:但是提案中的TEA条款,将大大消灭大建筑项目),但这会影响大量的小企业和中型地产开发商,他们一直以来都会根据就业数量尽可能多地募集EB-5资金。我们不清楚,为什么参议院试图通过可募集的EB-5资金量的减少,来惩罚小企业和中型地产开发商项目。在我们看来,这些所提议的就业数量计算的改变非常武断,并且不当地增加了美国企业寻求使用EB-5资金的负担,对他们而言EB-5融资是,在其他情况下所不能获得的完成项目的必需资金。

    EB-5计划的变革应当用来加强该计划,而不是随意地惩罚某些美国企业,或对那些寻求使用EB-5资金的美国企业而言使得EB-5计划复杂化。

    对于提案所导致的结果,为什么会有助于美国经济或加强EB-5计划这一点上如果有合理的原因的话,发起本议案的参议员应当做出解释。如果没有,这些条款应当被放弃,因为它们无意之中惩罚了特定的美国企业,而这些企业应当与其他的美国企业有同等的使用EB-5融资的机会。

    参议院提案中还有很多其他条款,将对移民者通过EB-5计划获得签证的要求作出重大改变,而这些也有可能影响美国企业获得这些非常需要的EB-5融资。我们期待这些条款在参议院的提案在国会辩论时能有所改变,我们期望当这个提案最终通过的时候,提案将加强EB-5计划,同时不会使美国企业通过这个计划募集资金来创造就业变得过分困难。


EB-5 alert: Senate reauthorization will reduce financing for U.S. construction projects by changing the job count requirements


Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP - Catherine DeBono Holmes and Victor T. Shum


The proposed Senate Bill reauthorizing the EB-5 Regional Center Program would restrict the types of projects that can be funded with EB-5 financing and amount of funds that can be raised with EB-5 financing.


The Senate Bill, entitled “American Job Creation and Investment Promotion Reform Act of 2015,” which was introduced on June 4, 2015, contains some provisions that would strengthen the oversight of the EB-5 Program, but the Bill also contains some provisions that would effectively disqualify many construction projects seeking to obtain financing through the EB-5 Program, and reduce the amount of EB-5 financing that could be obtained for many other construction projects.  In particular, these provisions would change the ways in which jobs are counted for purposes of determining which projects qualify for EB-5 financing, and how many jobs are credited for each project.  There is no explanation in the Bill or by the Senators proposing these changes as to the reasons why they believe these changes are necessary, or in what way they believe these changes would improve the EB-5 Program.  In fact, we believe these changes are unwise and should be removed from the Bill because it is counter to the original intent of EB-5 program by reducing foreign investment and job growth and by hurting small and medium sized American businesses from accessing much needed capital.


The proposal to allow only 90% of the requirements for job creation to be satisfied through indirect jobs would effectively eliminate EB-5 financing for all construction projects to be completed in two years or less which are not associated with operating businesses following completion.


One of the provisions of the Bill states that up to 90% of the jobs required to be created in order to qualify for EB-5 financing may be created indirectly through investment.  The EB-5 Program currently has no requirement that any portion of the jobs created be direct or indirect jobs, and requires simply that at least 10 new jobs be created for every investor.  If the Bill is passed with this provision, it would mean that at least 10% of the jobs for every EB-5 project must be direct jobs.  It is not clear in the Bill if that means that the entity in which EB-5 investors invest their funds must have direct employees (i.e. W-2 employees), or that the project must include direct effect employees, as calculated by an economic model such as RIMS II or IMPLAN.  We assume it means the latter, because if it meant that the entity in which the EB-5 investors invested must have its own employees, that would be an extremely severe restriction, because most EB-5 investment entities are formed as financing vehicles for specific projects, and are not themselves employers of any employees.


Even if this provision is intended to mean that the project must include direct effect employees from an economic model, it would automatically exclude many construction projects.  This is because EB-5 regulations currently do not allow any construction project that will be completed in under two years to count any direct construction jobs for EB-5 purposes.  Therefore, this provision requiring at least 10% direct employees would automatically exclude any multi-family, condominium, office or other construction project that took under two years to build and was not part of an operating business.  This requirement of at least 10% direct employees could be met by developers of real estate intended to be used for an operating business, such as hotel, restaurant, or assisted living facility, because those projects would have direct employees in their operating phase.  In addition the requirement could be met by a construction project that would take over two years to build, because those projects are allowed to count direct construction jobs.  However, it is unclear why the requirement for at least 10% direct jobs should be required at all, given that its effect would be to automatically shut out of any EB-5 financing construction projects to be completed within two years for multi-family, condominium, office or other types of commercial development. Moreover, since smaller, short-term projects which are completed in less than two years are the most viable types of projects in economically disadvantaged communities, this requirement would appear to be counter to the intent of the EB-5 program of promoting job growth and economic stimulus.


The proposal to limit job credit to no more than 30% of all jobs created by non-EB-5 financing would significantly reduce the amount of EB-5 financing that could be raised by many projects, and thereby jeopardize the ability of these projects to be built at all.


One of the provisions of the Bill states that EB-5 investors may only receive credit for job creation based on capital investment provided by non-alien entrepreneurs for the percentage of total jobs created that is equal to the percentage of total capital investment provided by such non-alien entrepreneurs in the commercial enterprise, and that percentage may not exceed 30% of all jobs created, even if the capital investment by non-alien entrepreneurs does exceed 30%.


There is no definition of the term non-alien entrepreneur in the Bill, and it is unclear whether that term refers only to the equity investors in an EB-5 project, excluding commercial lenders, or if it includes all providers of debt and equity capital to a project.  In today’s typical EB-5 real estate development project, a senior lender will typically provide up to 50% of the total cost of a development project, with the EB-5 investors contributing 20% to 30%, and the developer contributing the remaining capital.  Thus, in the typical EB-5 real estate development project, if the senior lender’s investment was not counted as capital provided by non-alien entrepreneurs, that would automatically cut the job count, as well as the maximum amount of EB-5 capital that could be raised, by 50%.  The more debt financing that was provided by commercial lenders, the more it would cut the maximum amount of EB-5 capital that could be raised.


If, on the other hand, the term non-alien entrepreneur is interpreted to mean all sources of debt and equity capital to a project other than EB-5 capital, then the credit for jobs will be decreased in direct proportion to the percentage of EB-5 capital that is used for a project.  In other words, if EB-5 capital is 10% of project capital, then the project can only count 10% of the project jobs plus the maximum 30% of the remaining jobs, for a total of 40%.  If EB-5 capital is 20% of total project capital, the project could only count 20% plus the maximum 30%, for 50% of the total jobs, and so on.  The reduction in the percentage of jobs that may be counted will create a direct reduction in the maximum amount of EB-5 capital that may be raised for any project, based on the basic formula of 10 jobs for every EB-5 investment.  Thus, a project with EB-5 capital of 30% that can count only 60% of total jobs created would have to reduce EB-5 capital to 60% of the maximum amount that could be raised under the current EB-5 program.


This proposal also results in a kind of death spiral for EB-5 financing, because the smaller the amount of EB-5 capital that is raised, the less credit for job creation the project will be allowed to count.  For example, if a project sought to raise 30% of EB-5 capital, but because of insufficient job count due to the changes proposed by the Bill, the project could only raise 20% of the total capital, there would be a further 10% reduction in the job count, which could lead to an insufficient number of jobs even to raise 20% of the total capital through EB-5 financing.


This would not necessarily impact EB-5 capital raised for projects with substantial excess jobs, which are typically the largest and longest term construction projects, but it would impact the bulk of smaller businesses and middle market real estate developers who have tended to raise as much EB-5 capital as possible based on the job count.  It is unclear why the Senate Bill seeks to penalize small business and middle market real estate projects by reducing the amount of EB-5 capital they can raise.  In our view, these proposed changes in job count are arbitrary and unduly complicate the burden on U.S. businesses seeking to use EB-5 capital to provide the necessary capital to complete projects for which financing is not otherwise available.


Changes to the EB-5 Program should be designed to strengthen the Program, but not arbitrarily penalize some U.S. businesses or complicate the EB-5 Program for those U.S. businesses seeking to use it.


If there is a rationale to explain why the effects caused by the proposed legislation would benefit the U.S. economy or strengthen the EB-5 Program, the Senators proposing the Bill should explain it.  If not, the provisions should be dropped because they unintentionally penalize certain U.S. businesses who should have the same access to EB-5 financing as other U.S. businesses.


There are many other provisions of the Senate Bill that will make substantial changes in the requirements for immigrants seeking to obtain visas through the EB-5 Program, and these may also impact the ability of U.S. businesses to obtain this much needed form of financing.  We anticipate that there will be changes as the Senate Bill is debated in Congress, and we hope that when the final form of the Bill is passed, it will strengthen the EB-5 Program without making it unduly difficult for U.S. businesses to create jobs by raising financing through the Program.





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