EB-5 visas are about to get more expensive

EB-5 visas are about to get more expensive

  

The developers behind Jupiter shopping center Harbourside Place was sued by EB-5 investors, who alleged the developer attempted to defraud them out of millions.

The price of a so-called "golden visa" for foreign investors is about to become more expensive.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently announced the cost of an EB-5 visa will rise to a minimum of $900,000 in November, up from $500,000.

The program allows foreign investors to obtain U.S. residency by investing in U.S. businesses with at least 10 employees.

Ronald Fieldstone, a partner at Miami law firm Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr, expects South Florida could see a surge of EB-5 related investments before the updated regulations kick in.

"The next four months will be key because investors still have a shot of getting in with the lower rate," Fieldstone said. "We're advising clients to take an active role."

The EB-5 program has faced its share of controversy.

Critics of the program allege investor money has often gone toward luxury real estate projects, rather than projects in low-income neighborhoods as Congress intended when it was created.

Some investors, including almost 200 Chinese investors who put money into Jupiter shopping center Harbourside Place, allege the program has been used to defraud wealthy foreigners.

Fieldstone said the regulations could encourage Congress to pass new EB-5 legislation before the revisions take effect in November. The federal legislation has not been updated since its original passage in 1990 and the minimum investment amount needs to be increased to keep up with inflation, he said.

The regulations also change how high-unemployment areas, known as targeted employment areas (TEA), are defined. States currently have the power to gerrymander census tracts together in order to create TEA's in areas that otherwise wouldn't meet the program's unemployment requirements.

The revision moves that authority from the states to the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It also makes it more difficult to designate high-population urban areas – some of the most popular areas for investment – as TEA's.

Jose Latour, a business immigration attorney, and founder of Miami-based EB-5 center American Venture Solutions, said he believes the more stringent unemployment requirements will be a benefit for South Florida.

"Right now a building next to Central Park can find a way to be classified as an impoverished area," he said. "Developers working with EB-5 investors will be forced to do projects in locations where there's more risk in terms of neighborhood desirability, but that's going to create opportunities in places that need them."

Latour said his clients, so far, do not seem overly concerned about the new regulations. But either way, he said he expects South Florida EB-5 investments from China, Vietnam and India could slow down due a visa backlog. Many foreign investors from those countries, he said, are still waiting for a green card years after investing in a U.S. project, which could put off others considering the EB-5 program.

Investors can still choose to put money toward projects in wealthier areas, but it will cost them.

EB-5 projects outside of distressed areas will require a $1.8 million investment in November, up from $1 million.

"They can still invest in waterfront high-rises if they'd like, but they can also choose to go with a rural project in a truly underserved area for half the cost," Latour said.

South Florida Business Journals

Do you have questions?
HOTLINE: 786-866-9775

NEWS

CEOs offer diverse ways of luring and keeping good workers

Oct 14, 2019

Jose Latour was asked about attracting and retaining talent in the October 14 CEO Roundtable in the Miami Herald. Read more here.

CEOs say schools have focused on increased safety and security

Sep 30, 2019

CEO's weighed in on school safety and security in the September 30 CEO Roundtable in the Miami Herald. Read more here.

What should organizations do with scandal-tainted donations?

Sep 23, 2019

Should organizations keep tainted donations? Jose Latour gave his thoughts on the issue in the September 23 CEO Roundtable in the Miami Herald. Read more here.

CONTACT

person
send
stay_current_portrait
help_outline

US Office:

4500 Biscayne Boulevard, PH-N
Miami, Florida 33137

Hotline: (786) 866-9775
Fax: (305) 675-6195

Email: jlatour@latourlaw.com

Vietnam Office:

A: 6th Floor, Sai Gon Tower,
29 Le Duan Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Hotline: 0938.61.30.62
Phone: +84 28 7303 2168

Email: vietnam@latourlaw.com


© 2020 LatourLaw. All rights reserved.

All the information contained on this website is subject to US and International Copyright laws.

Reproduction and distribution without prior written permission is strictly prohibited.

DMCA.com Protection Status
keyboard_arrow_up