In an effort to spur economic development in the Miami-Dade area, local government officials have created a new office charged with obtaining investors to fund projects in the area. In the case of this new agency, the targeted investors are foreign ones, and the office is using the prospect of legal immigration status as a prize to pull in these foreign investors and cement Miami’s status as an international business hub, the Miami Herald reported.
Back in May, federal immigration officials designated the creation of a new regional center for EB-5 visas in Miami. Running the center is a new agency created by Miami-Dade government, the Office of International Business Development.
EB-5 is also known as the “Immigrant Investor Program” and grants visas to certain foreign nationals who make substantial investments in US businesses. Foreign investors under the EB-5 program must invest at least $1 million, unless they place their investments in a “targeted” high-unemployment or rural area, in which case the floor is $500,000. Federal law limits the issuance of EB-5 visas to only 10,000 per year.
Miami’s center is the first one operated by a local government. Local businesses seeking to be included in the program must submit business plans to the city. The new agency reviews the plans and places them in a portfolio of businesses marketed to potential foreign investors, assuming the business passes the governmental review.
Foreign nationals who meet the standards for participation in the EB-5 program receive green cards for themselves and their immediate families that are good for two years. If the business in which the investor places his or her money succeeds in creating or preserving at least 10 jobs within two years of the original investment, the immigrant receives the benefit of the business deal, plus permanent residency status.
The Herald report pointed out that the program is not without its critics. The Center for Immigration Studies claimed that the EB-5 program was analogous to permitting wealthier immigrants to purchase a spot at the head of the visa line. Fortune magazine criticized the program as poorly regulated and “a magnet for amateurs, pipe-dreamers, and charlatans, who see it as an easy way to score funding” as a result. CNN Money reported that the program has become heavily inundated with rich Chinese citizens, with the number of EB-5 visas issued to Chinese recipients swelling from 16 in 2005 to nearly 6,900 in 2013.
Establishing eligibility for an EB-5 visa is very complicated. Submitting a poorly completed EB-5 application that fails may harm your chances for success in the future. To ensure that you are fully prepared to submit a successful application the first time, contact a knowledgeable immigration attorney about your application. Securing the assistance of a qualified legal professional familiar with the details of this program is a wise move. For advice and representation about your EB-5 visa or other immigration issues, talk to the Florida immigration attorneys at Stok Folk & Kon. Our attorneys can help you ensure that you have everything in order that you need to achieve success in your quest for legal immigration status.
Contact us online or by calling (954) 237-1777 to schedule your consultation.
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