Investment visas are big business for countries in a fluctuating world economy. They give people with substantial funds, the ability to leave their home country for perhaps a more stable one, while enabling countries to have an additional stream of income. Over the past decade, the number of visas offered to investors around the world, and their popularity has grown exponentially.
Why has this happened you might ask. As the world was thrown into the economic abyss of the 2008 financial crisis, almost every developed country suffered substantial financial damage. For many individuals, their property was devalued, they may have lost their jobs and their disposable income all but dried up. Suddenly, you have individuals who have had their credit ruined and cannot attain a new job.
On the other hand, you have developing countries with less exposure to Western banks and very manufacturing and/or mining commodity based economies. As investors become wary of investing in company shares on the global stock markets, commodities become hot. Gold and oil reach all time highs and construction in China and other parts of Asia pushes associated building materials through the roof. A new class of the super rich is born.
What do wealthy individuals from developing countries want? Political stability. They don’t want drastic and rapid changes to taxes, travel, business regulations and the rule of law. When you have countries with stability and a lack of liquidity, you target individuals looking for exactly what you can offer. Simple. Foreign investment creates jobs and adds to the wellness of your economy, as long as the money is put to use.
Thus, the popularity of the investment visa grew. Foreign investors would be required to invest large sums of money in businesses or real estate and in exchange would receive visas to reside in the given country. Among the most popular, due to its usability and lack of real interaction required by the investor, is the EB-5 visa.
Investing in real estate to attain a visa in the USA is a little different from other countries offering visas for investment. You’re not so much investing in an individual house to live in, but in most cases, a business that builds and manages homes, hotels, offices, etc. Now this isn’t always the case; the business may have a different purpose, however this tends to be the easiest set-up to meet the requirements. The official title is the EB-5. It was created by Congress in 1990, however it didn’t really come into the mainstream until Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program in 1992. What this basically did was enable Regional Centres in different areas across the country to promote commercial projects to foreign investors in the hope that the money would generate economic growth.
How much do I need to invest?
The minimum investment is USD 500,000 if investing in a “Targeted Employment Area” or USD 1 million anywhere else. A targeted employment area is an area of high unemployment (at least 150% of the national average rate) or a rural area (any area outside a metropolitan statistical area or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the decennial census).
- • In most instances you must invest in a new commercial enterprise that was established after November 29, 1990.
- • Must provide employment to 10 Americans for 24 months.
How do I qualify?
- • Must be at least 21 years of age,
- • Demonstrate legal source of assets and funds,
- • Choose a qualified investment project.
What do I receive?
The Department of Homeland Security states that under this program, entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a Green Card (permanent residency) if they fulfil the requirements. That Green Card can allow you to apply for naturalization after 5 years and become a US citizen.
City Center West Orange
Located in the heart of Central Florida, the City Center West Orange development showcases what the EB-5 Program is all about. Plans feature condominiums, hotels, a convention center and more than half a million square feet of retail and commercial space. The first phase of City Center West Orange includes 450 condominiums in the 29 Palms’ community. The residences have access to resort style amenities including: a rooftop pool, 24-hour fitness room, a club room, controlled entry and electric car charging stations. This project is huge and located in a “targeted employment area”. The developer, Park Development Corporation has an extensive history of developing projects in the Orlando area, including apartment complexes, office buildings, hotels, condominiums and retail centers. Marketing the project globally is Celebration, Florida based Universal Trust Investment Solutions.
This article was first published in Palace magazine.