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Florida real estate market could benefit from immigration action

As President Obama's efforts lead to immigration changes, experts indicate that Miami could experience an increase in real estate activity and development. The President's immigration reform includes recommendations for expanding EB-5 visas or implementing similar options for investors.

Foreign investments of at least $500,000 in approved real estate projects, which would also result in significant job creation in the U.S., allow the potential for an individual to seek citizenship. Florida reports indicate that this visa is being increasingly used in connection with both commercial and residential real estate development, especially in Miami. Investment is coming from Latin American countries as well as from Europe. Florida officials note that more investment in the area can be a positive influence on Miami's economy. In fact, the demand for such visas has been significant enough that the city has created a center to oversee related needs.

The U.S. has a cap of 10,000 EB-5 visas per year, and 2014 has been the first year in which the limit was reached. Many of the opportunities are taken by investors from China. As a result, those Latin American investors interested in Florida development may have been affected and hindered in their efforts to obtain EB-5s. Currently, changes to immigration programs are still being considered; regulations have yet to be written for the new policies.

A company working with foreign investors to develop real estate may wonder about the requirements and time limits related to applying for an EB-5 visa. It may be prudent to work with an immigration lawyer as such applications are considered and completed to ensure that time limits and caps are understood and taken into account as filing is completed.

Source: The Real Deal, "Exec. immigration action could boost Miami real estate market ", Paola Luspa-Abbot, December 05, 2014

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