As franchises continue moving outward onto the global scene to bolster brand development in burgeoning countries, some U.S. founded franchises are making steady progress by partnering with incoming international franchisees. Since 1990, immigration options have enabled investors to enter the U.S. with their plans for business ownership in tow.
Over 20 years have passed since the Immigration Act of 1990 was initiated and today investors looking to take their business ownership aims into the U.S. are increasingly looking into the EB-5 visa as a way to invest abroad from their native country. Interest in the visa and approved applications have increased over the last approximately three years as changes to the program have helped to streamline the experience a bit more for applicants.
With this visa option, investors from worldwide can partner up with franchisors across the U.S. in various cities and states to bring a unique set of talents and influence to brands. Investments of at least $500K make the EB-5 visa an option for investors interested in bringing a sizable business venture to life in the U.S. The program has seen increased popularity and approvals in recent years, particularly following the brunt of the recession.
As of February of this year, an additional 440 regional centers were approved to assist investors in their endeavor to start business operation in the U.S. This highlights the continued growth that is anticipated under the EB-5 visa program. California and Florida maintain the highest number of regional centers across the country and the overall focus of the program is primarily to grow the economy nationwide and create job opportunities.
Where acquiring financing or the necessary capital to operate a franchise may be a challenge for some local investors, foreign investors seeking a viable franchise business to partner with may find the EB-5 program an appealing option that enables residency within the U.S. as an added benefit. Franchisors partnering up with incoming franchisees from China are currently the primary leading arrangement of EB-5 visa recipients, though Central and South American, Indian, and Middle Eastern investors are also building relationships with U.S. franchisors.
Regardless of the potential immigration opportunity, potential franchisees are encouraged to perform due diligence research with the utmost care when embarking on investment projects to ensure the very best possible decisions are made. Additionally, seeking legal and financial advice from franchise professionals specifically in the area of immigration investment early on is the wisest course of action to ensure appropriate steps are followed from the start.