Western Energy Regional Center works closely with High Net Worth families in the UAE who have children approaching university age to make them aware of their US Visa options when sending children to the US for higher education.
“We have helped educate many families from the UAE that there are more and better options than the traditional F-1 student visa,” said Gregory Neher, CEO of Western Energy Regional Center
Western Energy’s research into UAE families revealed a few preferences:
1. HNW UAE families do not want to have the uncertainty associated with the need to participate in visa lotteries. They want certainty in their immigration status in advance
2. UAE families do not like paying the inflated fees charged by US universities to foreign students
3. UAE students do not want to have work restrictions after they graduate. The requirement to be “sponsored” by their employer after graduation causes a competitive disadvantage for top positions. The need for sponsorship also reduces the opportunity to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities
4. UAE families are happy to participate in immigrant investor programs but want to invest in a low-risk product that aims to pay them back their invested capital plus interest over the same time period as their children are in US universities or high schools.
“We talked to UAE families and designed an EB-5 immigrant investor package to suit their needs and desires,” said Neher.
1. The EB-5 program provides a US Green Card for participants and their immediate family (including all children under 21 years of age). This means that parents and children will all become permanent US residents
2. Children of families holding EB-5 visas pay lower, in-country tuition
3. College graduates in the US will be permanent residents so do not need to be sponsored by their employer – making them on par with US citizens and providing a big competitive advantage over other international students
4. Western Energy’s EB-5 investment provides investors with first lien position. Investors get paid back first at maturity
As permanent residents, EB-5 families keep the option of permanently resettling in the US, splitting time between the US and their current home, or using their new Green Card for occasional visits. In all cases, the EB-5 visa is far more flexible and robust than other options. In addition, on August 1, 2016 the EB1 visa (formerly a popular choice for UAE citizens immigrating to the US) has been paused for UAE Nationals.
Designed for high net-worth families, the EB-5 Program has been in effect since 1990. Through EB-5, immigrants to the US invest $500,000 (approximately Dhs1,836,575) into a US Government-approved Regional Center such as Western Energy. The program provides permanent residency to investors and their immediate family. The EB-5 Investor will receive most all of the same benefits as anyone who is a US citizen, and the family will retain these benefits and opportunities for all succeeding generations.
At present, 10,000 such visas are allocated annually to EB-5 investors. Between 2009 and 2013, 162 EB-5 visas were issued to UAE nationals.
Further, Neher explained the investment may soon to be increased to $800,000 (approximately Dhs2,938,520).
“In addition to many direct relationships with High Net Worth families, we also work closely with chartered accountants, lawyers and wealth managers who have close relationships with HNIs in the UAE. Awareness of the EB-5 program is really growing since it is the cleanest path for UAE families to access new education, immigration, and citizenship options,” he said.
He explained that the EB-5 investment generally has investment returns that may not be very high. But our research shows that UAE nationals want a safe EB-5 option so we have structured a safe product that will have a high likelihood of paying investors their money back while facilitating a Green Card for themselves and their families.
Western Energy will be holding educational seminars in Dubai in October.