It is the hottest investment source in South Florida real estate development. It can create thousands of local jobs, and pump millions of dollars into our economy. It has helped build “cultural bridges” with foreign investors, and assisted them in becoming U.S. citizens. But it has also been used as a vehicle for fraud, criticized for allowing rich foreign investors to jump the line for citizenship, and manipulated to benefit wealthy urban areas.
We describe, of course, the EB-5 visa program: a process that allows foreigners to invest in local businesses that employ American workers in (supposedly) economically depressed areas, in return for a short and smooth path to U.S. citizenship for these investors and their families. Congress will decide whether or not to allow the EB-5 program (in its current form) to expire at the end of this month, and while it has many supporters, there is also a serious call for reform to tighten some loopholes. How has the program impacted South Florida, and what does its future hold?
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