Civitas’ Manuel Ortiz talks to renowned EB-5 attorney Mona Shah on a recent podcast about Civitas’ institutional approach to EB-5

Civitas is a Dallas-based asset management firm with a global reach—we have investors from more than 30 countries

Attorney Mona Shah of Mona Shah & Associates is one of the country’s leading voices on EB-5 issues. Shah’s podcast, EB-5 Investment Voice, features attorney insights and information on immigration investments. You can listen to those podcasts here.

On a recent episode, Shah spoke in London at the Global Investment Immigration Summit 2018 with Manuel Ortiz, Civitas’ Director of EB-5 Investor Relations. Below is an excerpt of their conversation, which focuses on how Indian nationals in London are seeking education on EB-5 issues.

If you’d like to speak to Manuel and his team about the EB-5 opportunities for you or your family, click here and fill out our Contact Us form. We’ll be in touch soon!

Mona Shah: Hi, we’re back, and this time I have Manuel [Ortiz] from Civitas. Hi, Manuel.

Manuel: Hello, Mona. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.

Mona Shah: Yeah. It’s been interesting because people do wonder about London. They don’t realize what a hub it is, but aren’t you surprise at just how many people [in London] don’t know about EB-5?

Manuel: Yes. There is a lot of interest here. I think that poses both a challenge and an opportunity because you really do have to educate people with regards to what EB-5 is, but I definitely see that there is a lot of interest here. Sometimes when people see that there are X number of Indian visas that are coming out the assumption is that they’re actually located in India, but they’re typically in other countries as well, including the US.

Mona Shah: That’s right. That’s right. So, for those who don’t know much about you give me your two-minute spiel. Who is Civitas? What do you do?

Manuel: I’m the Director for EB-5 for Civitas Capital, so I run our global EB-5 operations. Civitas takes an institutional approach to EB-5. We have both an EB-5 platform and a non-EB-5 platform. For EB-5 purposes, we have a 100 percent track record.

Mona Shah: Yes you do.

Manuel: What we start noticing as investors started going through the process is that their investor needs started to change. As you started to build that trust, build those relationships they would ask, “Well, what else do you got?” And so, we launched our non EB-5 platform.

Mona Shah: Oh wow, great. And then again, places, events like this I think what really opens your eyes as well is what happens in other programs, and what the world is looking at?

Manuel: Right. There are definitely other options. It’s been really good talking to the people here at the conference that have these other programs, and really getting their perspective. What you tend to see is that a lot of the motivations and driving factors for these other programs are basically the same as EB-5.

Mona Shah: That’s right. But the bottom downside is the timing for EB-5. I think that when people do hear that it’s two years plus they do go, oh, because most of these other programs are a few months.

Civitas has a diverse team from more than 18 countries. Its competitive advantage comes from its deep expertise in U.S. markets paired with its international cultural competency.

Manuel: Right, yes. The timeline for EB-5 both processing the retrogression issues, the legislative uncertainty that we’ve been going through over the last two and half to three years has really clouded the picture for us, but it’s one of those things that it’s been happening for so long that we’ve just basically powering through it.

Mona Shah: Interestingly, I spoke to one of the lawyers earlier who came in and he said, “Well … We were talking about the timelines and he said, ‘I know you had long timelines, but our guys still want to wait. They still feel that they want to wait.’”

Manuel: Right. I think people are really motivated. The U.S. is still a really attractive place to be. Really what you hear is that the timelines, yes it creates a little bit of a problem, but people are willing to wait, and even if the investment amount does go up you’re still hearing that there really is not going to be that large of an affect. It will have an effect, yes, but it’s not going to be as big as what people think.

Mona Shah: The good thing I think as well with this particular event there’s not many Americans. It’s not like you go somewhere and there are 20, or 30 booths, so you don’t have to have that competition. We do want to show the good quality, due diligence, et cetera.

Manuel: That’s correct. I think also the fact that you have people here that are working on that education process, and educating the people that are here. I would say that what you’re seeing here at this event is what you’re seeing really in general at the EB-5 industry. As China started to slow down the market started shifting everywhere else, and the opportunity in China was that infrastructure existed for EB-5. It doesn’t exist everywhere else.

Mona Shah: Right.

Manuel: So, what we’re doing here is really blazing the trail, and setting up that education process, and that infrastructure.