Specialists in EB-5 Investments

The EB-5 Visa can provide investors with permanent US residence

SIKI MGABADELI:
Tertiary education in South Africa is in the spotlight as students across the country protest for #FeesMustFall. Many are looking at alternative funding solutions for tertiary education in South Africa, while others are looking at taking their children to study in other countries. So today we are looking at the ofEB-5 Visa that’s available for study in the USA. We are chatting to Rogelio Caceres, who is co-founder of LCR Capital. Rogelio, thanks so much for your time today. I can only imagine that every country has a certain quota of foreign students that it allows in to come and study. What’s the case with the United States?

ROGELIO CACERES:
The United States doesn’t have a quota in terms of international students. In fact, it’s one of the most popular destinations for higher education. Currently there are over a million students from all over the world studying in higher education in the United States.

SIKI MGABADELI:
So this EB-5 Visa then – just tell us about that, what makes it different from any other form of study visa, for example.

ROGELIO CACERES:
It’s the fastest and simplest, the most reliable way to obtain permanent residency in the US – and what that allows is for international students to have several significant advantages when studying there. Number one, as they look to apply to universities in the United States, they have in many cases much higher acceptance rates to top universities that that allow them to compete with other international students and therefore have access to better colleges. While they are there, they in many cases have lower tuition costs, they have access to many more scholarships and awards. And, most importantly, when they graduate they have the ability to work anywhere in the country. They are not subject to the H-1B Employment Visa, and therefore can really seek and start their careers anywhere in the US.

SIKI MGABADELI:
All right. So how does one qualify?

ROGELIO CACERES:
Well, it’s a pretty standard process. It’s a US$500 000 investment into a new American business. It’s a very popular investment immigration programme that many other countries around the world have. Countries like the UK, Singapore, Australia have similar programmes. The US is a little less expensive than these programmes. And what it does it allows a family, the investor, his or her spouse, any children they have under the age of 21, all to obtain US green cards by investing their capital into a new American business. Clients of LCR, these high net worth investors obtain these green cards by deploying their capital into safe and secure investments in the US.

SIKI MGABADELI:
And how do you identify the local US businesses?

ROGELIO CACERES:
  Our background is in the franchise finance sector, which is specifically the quick-service restaurant sector. So what we’ve done is assemble investment funds that lend capital to the Dunkin’ Donuts brand and help them partially finance the building of new stores all around the country. Dunkin’ Donuts is one of the more established financial franchise brands in the US. It’s the seventh-largest restaurant company. They have a second-largest market share in Starbucks. But they are highly concentrated in the north-east of the country. So what we are doing is pulling the capital together of these international investors from countries like Brazil, China, India and others, and lending that capital to partially finance the building of these stores.

SIKI MGABADELI:
 I see Dunkin’ Donuts of course entering the South African market at the moment. What is the minimum investment for someone who is looking at this as an opportunity?

ROGELIO CACERES:
Well, it’s a $500 000 investment up front into the fund. What we do at LCR is manage that capital for our investors. We then lend that capital to the very best operators in the Dunkin’ system, allowing that job creation to occur, which is the central linchpin of the programme. Once that capital is invested, typically on a five-year basis, when those loans become due the capital is returned to the fund and the fund then returns that capital to the investors. So it’s a way for investors to obtain a green card in a relatively short time frame – 12, 15, 18 months on average – and then get their capital back typically in full at the end of five years, thereby injecting very much needed foreign direct investment into the US, creating jobs and the American economy prospers as well as investors.

SIKI MGABADELI:
And I understand you are going to be hosting workshops to explain the process in various cities here in South Africa.

ROGELIO CACERES:
Yes. We are very excited about helping bring this EB-5 programme to the South African market. Despite being a worldwide programme with over 10 000 visas allocated each year, this has been the China focus programme for an investor … Last year around 30 South African obtained visas through this programme, not because of a lack of trying, but simply because there is not a lot of awareness building across South Africa. So we are one of the few resource centres where investment firms there are taking a focused approach in the country, and will be hosting seminars in Johannesburg, in Durban, in Cape Town all across next week.

SIKI MGABADELI:
Thanks for your time today, Rogelio Caceres, who is the co-founder, LCR Capital.

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