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广州移民翻译公司:美国投资移民项目的是非之争

作者: 来源: 日期:2016/9/18 11:22:33

US economy: Citizenship for sale

美国投资移民项目的是非之争

 

广州移民翻译公司:美国国会正在重估“现金换绿卡”的EB-5项目。支持者称,该项目让大笔投资流入美国;但批评者表示,这个项目充斥着欺诈行为。

 

From the 36th floor of a downtown Miami office tower, Ronald Fieldstone has a 360-degree view of the construction boom that he has had a hand in fostering.

 

从迈阿密市中心一栋办公楼的第36层眺望,罗纳德•菲尔德斯通(Ronald Fieldstone)可以360度俯瞰他参与掀起的建筑热潮。广州移民翻译公司。

 

There is the high-speed rail line that will connect the city to Orlando, home of Disney World. To the west is the newly renovated Langford Hotel and to the north is the building site of the Paramount Miami Worldcenter, a 60-storey condominium and retail complex, where construction crews are digging the foundations.

一条高速铁路将连接迈阿密与迪士尼世界(Disney World)所在的奥兰多市。西边是重新翻修的兰福德酒店(Langford Hotel),北面是60层共管公寓和零售项目——派拉蒙迈阿密世界中心(Paramount Miami Worldcenter)的建筑工地,工人们正在挖地基。

 

All of those projects are funded, in part, via an investor visa programme known as EB-5 that gives investors a path to US citizenship. For a $500,000 investment in a project that creates at least 10 jobs in a high-unemployment area, a foreign national can eventually receive a green card that allows him or her to live and work permanently in the US.

这些项目在不同程度上通过一个投资者签证项目获得融资,该项目名为EB-5,是投资者获得美国公民身份的一条途径。外国人在一个高失业率地区向某个项目投资50万美元,至少创造10个就业岗位,就能最终获得美国绿卡,让他或她在美国永久生活和工作。广州移民翻译公司。

 

Miami, already a magnet for wealthy families from Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, is using the EB-5 programme as a tool to attract cash from China. Officials hope to transform Miami into an international banking centre with close ties to China, which they hope to cement by persuading Chinese airlines to begin nonstop flights from the mainland.

迈阿密一直吸引着来自委内瑞拉、巴西和阿根廷的富有家庭,如今它正利用EB-5项目吸引来自中国的资金。官员们希望将迈阿密转型为一个与中国联系紧密的全球银行业中心,他们试图说服中国的航空公司开通从中国直飞迈阿密的航班,来巩固与中国的联系。

 

Miami’s embrace of the EB-5 is not without controversy. Critics say it is rife with fraud and used to launder money. Canada ditched a similar programme while Australia tightened its requirements after finding there was little economic benefit.

迈阿密对EB-5项目的拥抱并非毫无争议。批评者们表示,该项目充斥着欺诈行为,并且被用来洗钱。加拿大已经废止了类似的项目,而澳大利亚在发现没有什么经济效益后收紧了要求。

 

Some US lawmakers say it sends a bad signal — trading visas for cash from the wealthy while much of the money has gone to well-off areas, not the distressed regions the programme was designed to help.

一些美国立法者表示,该项目传递出一个不好的信号:用签证来换取富人的钱,同时大量资金流向了富有地区,而非该项目旨在帮助的贫困地区。广州移民翻译公司。

 

Congress will vote later this month on whether to renew the programme. Even supporters like Mr Fieldstone say it needs more regulatory oversight to limit fraud and protect the national security interests of the US.

美国国会将于本月晚些时候就是否延续该项目举行投票。就连菲尔德斯通等支持者都表示,EB-5项目需要更多的监管来遏制欺诈,并保护美国的国家安全利益。

 

Advocates of the programme say it has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into mega-projects in New York and California, including the 12.7m sq ft Hudson Yards office complex in Manhattan. Now Florida wants a bigger piece of the action.

支持EB-5的人表示,该项目让数亿美元流入纽约和加州等大型项目,包括曼哈顿1270万平方英尺的哈德逊园区(Hudson Yards)办公楼项目。如今,佛罗里达州希望从该项目分得更大一杯羹。广州移民翻译公司。

 

For decades, Mr Fieldstone’s legal practice dealt primarily with corporate securities work, but today he spends 50 per cent of his time working on EB-5. “The success rate is really high for EB-5 funded projects,” he said. “South Florida is a special place. You can’t duplicate it — the climate, transportation and beach. I think the Chinese look at it as a gateway city.”

几十年来,菲尔德斯通的法律业务主要是公司证券领域的工作,但如今,他一半的时间花在EB-5项目上。“通过EB-5融资的项目,成功率确实很高,”他表示,“南佛罗里达是一个特别的地方。它不可复制——气候、交通和海滩。我认为,中国人把它视为门户城市。”

 

The EB-5 programme was created in 1990 as part of the Immigration Act to spur the US economy and promote job growth. Since then it has brought in $15.5bn in investments and created 84,400 jobs, according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the programme. Applicants need to lend $1m to a job-creating business or $500,000 if the project is in an economically depressed area. After roughly five years the investor receives a green card and, if they are lucky, their money back with a profit.

EB-5项目始于1990年,是旨在促进美国经济和推动就业增长的《移民法》(Immigration Act)的一部分。根据EB-5项目的主管部门——美国国土安全部(Department of Homeland Security)下属的公民及移民服务局(USCIS)——的数据,自那以来该项目已引入155亿美元投资,创造了8.44万个就业岗位。申请者需要向一家创造就业的公司投入100万美元或者——如果相关项目处于经济落后地区——50万美元。大约5年后,投资者会获得绿卡,如果幸运的话,他们还能收回投资,外加盈利。广州移民翻译公司。

Other countries have investor immigration programmes of varying levels. France requires a €10m investment in a project that creates 50 jobs. Malta’s programme, which issues an EU passport for €650,000, has drawn the ire of the European Commission. The UK raised its requirement to a £2m investment in government bonds.

其他国家也有形形色色的投资移民项目。法国要求投资者需要向某个创造50个就业岗位的项目投资1000万欧元。马耳他的投资移民项目需要65万欧元投资就能获得欧盟护照,此举激起了欧盟委员会(European Commission)的愤怒。英国提高了投资移民要求,投资者需投资200万英镑的政府债券。

 

The US programme sputtered along largely unused until the 2008 global financial crisis made it harder for real estate developers to obtain financing. Canada’s 2014 decision to close its programme, which had been extremely popular with wealthy Chinese, also gave the US version a boost.

美国的投资移民项目曾经多年无人问津,直到2008年全球金融危机让房地产开发商较难获得融资。同时,2014年加拿大决定废止曾让中国富人趋之若鹜的投资移民项目,这也让美国的EB-5项目获得提振。广州移民翻译公司。

 

The US scheme is capped at 10,000 visas annually, which it hit for the first time in 2014. Chinese investors are by far the biggest users, accounting for 86 per cent of the visas issued last year. That has created a backlog for Chinese applicants entering the programme, which is now up to 18 months. Some fear they will choose other countries given the delays.

美国的EB-5签证额度为每年1万个,直到2014年才首次触及这一上限。中国投资者是遥遥领先的最大申请人群,占去年发放签证数量的86%。现在加入该计划的中国申请人面临签证排期,目前最长的排期达18个月。一些人担心,由于签证发放推迟,这些申请人将选择其他国家。

 

Shutdown threat

项目被关停的威胁

 

The programme’s fast growth has exposed vulnerabilities in the system. There have been criminal cases alleging investor money was stolen. A Chicago man was charged with stealing $160m from investors that he purported to use to build a convention centre. He pleaded guilty earlier this year.

该项目的快速增长暴露了体制的漏洞。有多起刑事案件指称投资者的资金被挪用。一名芝加哥男子被指控从投资者那里窃取了1.6亿美元,声称这些钱被用于建设一座会议中心。他已于今年早些时候认罪。广州移民翻译公司。

 

Two government watchdogs have found deficiencies in oversight. An accountability audit found USCIS failed to consistently enter information, such as names or dates of birth, in its system to track individuals for potential fraud. USCIS says it has consolidated its examination staff in Washington and has started random visits to regional centres. It is also expected to propose regulatory changes later this year to strengthen the programme, including raising the minimum investment.

两家政府监督机构发现了监管方面的不足。一次经济责任审计发现,USCIS未能始终如一地将信息(如姓名或出生日期)输入其系统以追踪相关个人,发现潜在的欺诈行为。USCIS表示,该局在华盛顿已经加强了审查员队伍,并开始对区域中心(regional center)进行随机抽查。预计该局还将在今年晚些时候提交监管改革提案以加强该项目,包括提高最低投资限额。

 

Congress is divided over whether to improve the programme or simply end it, as Canada did. One lawmaker, Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California who is the vice-chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence, says it should be shut down.

在究竟是要改进该项目还是像加拿大那样彻底关停的问题上,美国国会存在分歧。加州民主党参议员、参议院情报委员会(Senate Select Committee on Intelligence)副主席戴安娜·费恩斯坦(Dianne Feinstein)称,该项目应被关停。广州移民翻译公司。

 

 I believe the programme is deeply unfair, sends the wrong message about this country’s values and is prone to fraud and abuse,” Ms Feinstein wrote in an op-ed last year. “It says that American citizenship is for sale, and that’s not what our country stands for.”

“我认为这个项目极其不公平,传达了关于美国价值观的错误信息,容易导致欺诈和被滥用,”费恩斯坦去年在一篇评论文章中写道,“这意味着美国公民身份成了可出售的商品,这不是我们国家所倡导的。”

 

 It’s cash for a green card,” adds David North, a frequent critic of the EB-5 programme, who is a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative think-tank. “I don’t think we should be selling visas to anybody.”

“这是用现金换绿卡,”经常批评EB-5项目的保守派智库——移民研究中心(Center for Immigration Studies)的研究员戴维•诺思(David North)说,“我认为我们不应向任何人出售签证。” 广州移民翻译公司。

 

One of his concerns, which are shared by some lawmakers and law enforcement agencies, is ensuring that cash is not being laundered or that the individual receiving the visa is not a threat to national security. “It’s very hard to trace money through particularly obscure Middle Eastern or Chinese financial systems,” Mr North says.

他的担忧之一(也是一些议员和执法机构的担忧)是,确保这些资金不是洗钱所得,或者获得签证的个人不会对国家安全构成威胁。诺斯表示:“很难通过极为不透明的中东或中国的金融系统追踪资金的来源。”

 

Hotting up

投资移民不断升温

 

In Miami, the view is that the influx of capital will raise the city’s profile internationally and attract more business. Developers have been on the ground in China promoting the city as the best place to park their cash.

在迈阿密,人们认为,资本的涌入将提升该市的国际形象并吸引更多生意。当地的开发商们早已登陆中国,宣传迈阿密是中国人存放资金的最佳之地。广州移民翻译公司。

 

Real estate developers began their effort to recruit Chinese buyers five years ago, but now those efforts are interwoven with EB-5 financing.

房地产开发商五年前就开始努力招揽中国买家,但现在,这些努力与EB-5融资结合在了一起。

 

Marketers for the Paramount Miami Worldcenter began pitching the residences in China last year. Paramount’s builders hired a feng shui expert who advised them on introducing the right earth, wood, metal, water and fire elements in the development. They were advised to position the chairs in the lobby to face the door and green potted plants were added to the seating area. A fireplace was also added.

派拉蒙迈阿密世界中心的营销人员去年就开始在中国推销住宅项目。派拉蒙项目的建筑师聘请了一位风水专家,后者建议他们在开发项目中恰到好处地引入金、木、水、火、土等元素。风水专家还建议他们将大厅内的椅子放在面对大门的位置,并在座位区放置绿色盆栽。还建议增添一个壁炉。

 

For the first time the developers of Paramount decided to use EB-5 to finance a project. In March, following the Chinese new year, they deployed a team to the southern city of Guangzhou to pitch to potential EB-5 investors.

派拉蒙项目的开发商首次决定利用EB-5为一个项目融资。在中国农历新年后的3月,他们向中国南方城市广州派出一个小组,吸引潜在的EB-5投资者。广州移民翻译公司。

 

 There seemed to be a much greater interest by the Chinese for investment opportunities in the US,” says John Montani, a business consultant to the developer.

开发商的商业顾问约翰•蒙塔尼(John Montani)称:“中国人似乎对在美国的投资机会感兴趣得多。”

 

For many of the overseas investors there are other appeals: access to the US education system for their children, and a safeguard against political difficulties in their home country.

对很多海外投资者来说,还有其他吸引力:子女能够进入美国的教育系统,以及获得防范本国政治麻烦的“护身符”。

 

The Miami Chamber of Commerce 18 months ago launched an Asia task force. “We have very few people here who speak Mandarin and who really are familiar with Asian and Chinese culture and customers. We have to build up our troops,” says Seth Gordon, chair of the task force.

18个月前,迈阿密商会(Miami Chamber of Commerce)组建了一个亚洲工作组。该工作组的负责人赛斯•戈登(Seth Gordon)表示:“我们这里很少有人会说普通话,很少有人真正熟悉亚洲及中国的文化和客户。我们不得不加强自己的队伍。” 广州移民翻译公司。

 

He says the city also needs to hedge its bets against cycles of instability in Latin America, where countries such as Venezuela and Brazil have been hit by the commodities bust. “When China began to pay attention to us [it’s like] when somebody is passing an approving look at you across the bar and you smile,” Mr Gordon says. “You begin to think, ‘Maybe we should have a relationship.’”

他说这座城市还需要对冲拉丁美洲的动荡周期,比如委内瑞拉和巴西等国已受到大宗商品价格暴跌的冲击。戈登说:“当中国开始关注我们时,感觉就像酒吧那头有人对你投来赞许的目光,而你报以微笑。你开始想‘也许我们应该试着发展一层关系?’”

 

One hurdle is changing the image of Florida that many associate with Mickey Mouse or drug trafficking. The Chamber of Commerce arranged a visit of a group of Chinese journalists to help promote the images of sandy beaches, clean air and ocean breezes.

其中一大障碍是要改变佛罗里达州的形象——在很多人眼里,这里与米老鼠(Mickey Mouse)或贩毒相关。迈阿密商会安排了一个中国记者观光团,帮助推广该州的沙滩、清新的空气和海风等形象。广州移民翻译公司。

 

In February, members of the chamber, the mayor of Miami and others met the Chinese consulate’s Houston office to discuss opening a branch in Miami, according to three attendees. A representative for the Chinese consulate did not have an immediate comment.

今年2月,迈阿密商会的成员、迈阿密市长等人会晤了中国驻休斯敦领事馆人员。据三位与会者介绍,双方商讨了在迈阿密设立中国领事馆的事宜。中国领事馆的一位代表未立即对此置评。

 

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