Aside from the direct investment, the client must understand that there are going to be ancillary expenses. So it is just as important to clarify what these costs may be as it is to disclose the complete financial statements and projections for the EB-5 project itself.
One simple thing to keep in mind is that this project is in the United States. Everything on the U.S. side of the Pacific should be expressed in U.S. dollars. It is not the responsibility of any of the U.S. entities this book is intended to serve to provide any service related to foreign exchange rates. If a client were to even bring up the idea that he or she wants any monetary figures or calculations reported in Chinese Yuan, it is not likely that you have a candidate for your project.
Immigration attorneys are not financial advisors; their services are generally focused solely on immigration matters. It must be further clearly understood that attorneys associated with a Regional Center represent that Regional Center, just as a REALTOR™ represents the seller unless otherwise specified. This fact should be disclosed to the client, including having the client sign a statement of understanding, lest they later claim that they had misunderstood, or worse, been misled. Potential clients should be directed to seek out the services of an independent attorney who represents their interests, if they are so inclined.
Whatever your role is in the process, especially if you are the developer of the project, you must make it clear that the investment minimums are not negotiable. Next, and again regardless of your role, you must make it clear that the investment monies do not include anything beyond the scope of the project itself. We suggest that you itemize all possible expenses that a prospective client might well expect to incur, including the sequence in which they are likely to have to be paid. An estimated timetable for those expenses would make the information even more helpful to the investor.
Fees for government filings are firmly established, but others, like attorney fees, are not. However, if you are an attorney that does not mean that you should not publish your fees or your fee structure at the appropriate time. Most immigration attorneys or business attorneys will charge a retainer, refundable or otherwise. The amount of that retainer is solely at the discretion of the attorney. Regardless of what some might claim, their fees are not based upon experience. They are based on what the individual attorney feels that the market will bear. That is not to say that some attorneys will not use experience as a validation for the price that they charge. Likewise, whether or not an attorney’s fees are negotiable is up to the attorney himself. The USCIS has no regulatory powers over what a business involved in the EB-5 charges for its services. America, after all, still has a free-enterprise economic system.
The important issue is that the client fully and clearly understands the fee amounts, terms, and structures. The client needs to clearly understand the scope of work covered by the fees, and agree that any other service will be billable as a separate item. It would be a good idea, if at all possible, to define the costs of other probable services ahead of time. Ordinarily those would be billed at an hourly rate, but you must make it abundantly clear that those hours and charges will not be covered by the fee for processing the EB-5 application.
When the question of additional or total costs is advanced in the early stages of your presentation, it is fair to give an estimate of those costs. We recommend estimating at the high end. It’s particularly nice to find out that something did not cost as much as one had expected that it might. (It’s also quite rare.)
Some of the most common fees are:
· Immigration attorney fees: $15,000 to $30,000
· Business planner fees: $7,500-$10,000
· Syndication fees: $50,000
· Filing fees: $1,700
· Visa application fees: $405 per person
· Regional Center administrative fees: $35,000 to $60,000
EB-5 disputes usually result from incorrect or inadequate information being given to clients. You must take care in stating the price of everything related to the project. EB-5 Agencies in Mainland China are known to sometimes mislead clients in order to gain more customers. Every effort should be made by their U.S. counterparts to be open, honest, and transparent.
The best advice that we can give about fees and costs is to run your business to make a profit. Charge according to how much you want to make. Be consistent. Prove by your performance that you are worth far more than you charge for your services. Let your client be the judge of what you are really worth. If you help them to become extremely successful by connecting them with a worthwhile project, when they look back, they won’t care what it cost them.
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