Perhaps I should say “A Few Words about the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.” The full name of what we call Hong Kong takes more than a few words.
The Hong Kong Basic Law states that the region shall have a high degree of autonomy, even though it is an administrative region of China. Although it has yielded its independence in regards to foreign relations and defense, Hong Kong truly co-operates with China as two political systems within a single country. Even before Great Britain ceded Hong Kong back to mainland China, most of the world regarding Hong Kong as “being Chinese” as opposed to “belong to China.” Now it is both.
In the EB-5 world, Hong Kong and the PRC are two different entities. Therefore, the quota restrictions are separate, but the program remains the same, just as it does for other countries.
Due to its long history of capitalism and westernization, Hong Kong tends to present fewer hurdles and less complexity to the Chinese who live there who may want to enter the U.S. under an EB-5 visa. The chief hurdles in Hong Kong are those that must be overcome under the USCIS, which are no different than for anywhere else. For example, one of the difficulties posed in the PRC is the restriction on the amount of money that any one mainland resident may take out of the country.
Someone has said that, as far as EB-5 goes, Hong Kong is somewhat like a competitor to China, because high net-worth citizens from the mainland sometimes look to Hong Kong as the easier route for immigrating to the U.S. through the EB-5 program. The Chinese see Hong Kong Agencies as more professionally adept at immigration matters, and that may be true. Hong Kong Agencies are operated by legal and accounting firms, whilst Agencies in mainland China might be better described as being operated by people with an entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, this is part of the reason why I have taken care to advise that your choice of mainland Agencies be given careful due diligence.
Some Chinese from the mainland are sure to believe that the EB-5 process might be easier for them if they work through a Hong Kong Agency, but with a country so populous and so in need of EB-5 representation, I would humbly suggest that your venture would be welcomed with more open arms in the mainland than in Hong Kong. If it were easy, they wouldn’t need any of us. But it is not easy, and they do need us. It is not up to me to tell you where to focus your efforts, but I recommend going to where the greatest demand is and doing your best to give those people the opportunity to come to invest and live in the U.S.A.
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