The Real Deal Miami

Exec. immigration action could boost Miami real estate market

Overhaul includes expanding programs like the EB-5 visa

November 26, 2014 06:30AM
By Paola Iuspa-Abbott

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President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama’s recent executive actions designed to overhaul the immigration system could help boost the rate of real estate development in Miami, some experts say.

One of the president’s initiatives calls for modernizing and improving immigrant programs aimed at boosting inbound investment and entrepreneurship, said Helena Tetzeli, a corporate immigration attorney with Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli and Pratt in Miami.

“Part of the overhaul will expand programs like the EB-5 visa or create similar programs,” Tetzeli said, referring to a visa that can lead to citizenship if a foreigner invests at least $500,000 in U.S.-approved real estate projects and creates at least 10 jobs here. South Florida developers are increasingly using the EB-5 program to help fund a new wave of residential and commercial development.

“Miami is the focus of foreign investment in Latin America and to a certain extent Europe as well,” said Miami real estate consultant David Dabby, with Dabby Group Advisors in Coral Gables. “So any [initiative] that brings more foreign investment to Miami is better for our economy.”

Panorama Tower rendering

Panorama Tower rendering

The local demand for EB-5 visas is so great that the City of Miami recently created an EB-5 Regional Center for Foreign Investment in downtown Miami. One of the Miami developers to benefit from the new designation is Tibor Hollo, whose future 82-story tower in Miami’s Brickell Financial District has an estimated construction cost of more than $800 million.

The U.S. already reached its 10,000 EB-5 visa cap this past fiscal year for the first time ever, with a significant number of the visas going to Chinese investors, said Miami EB-5 attorney Luciana Zamith Fischer, of Zamith Fischer Law. That means that many applicants from Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, among other Latin American countries that typically lead foreign investment in South Florida, may have been unable to obtain the visas. By expanding the Miami program, developers like Hollo would benefit, Fischer said. She added that Brazilian investors were particularly interested in getting EB-5 visas.

“They are increasingly becoming more interested in obtaining U.S. residency through EB-5 visas,” said Fischer, who only last week flew to Brazil to give seminars on the EB-5 program.

A relatively recent EB-5 success story is the completion of the University of Miami Life Science and Technology Park near downtown Miami. The project’s developer, Wexford Science and Technology, raised $20 million in EB-5 foreign capital from 40 foreign investors, said Fischer, who was involved in that project.

But exactly how the expansion and creation of new immigrant programs will look is hard to tell at this point, immigration attorney Tetzelli said.

While the president provided a framework for the new policies, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and other agencies will be responsible for writing the regulations. Some initiatives will be implemented over the next several months and some will take longer, said Tetzelli.

  • JM Padron

    The President’s executive order to grant temporal status to illegal immigrants does not relate to the EB-5 program at all. Don’t understands how the SFBJ allows this misleading information to be published. What this article looks like is just advertising for the immigration lawyer.

  • It all depends on each foreign national situation but recently we see a lot of publicity on EB5. There are many other options that foreign nationals can explore with an Inmigration Attorney.

  • Dave Francis


    taxpayer needs to watch the film documentary ‘The Border States of America’
    which uncovers the insane stance of this President failure to uphold the
    demanding will of the American People. An unprecedented wave of illegal immigration is an unending flood across
    menacing the very fabric of our sovereign country. But the Obama Administration
    refuses to enforce our immigration laws, resulting in tens of thousands of
    people illegally entering the US
    annually and now, our new film reveals the full scope of this catastrophe. The Obama administration have
    ignored the desperate millions of middle class Americans who cannot find a job,
    but are willing to grant millions of illegal aliens work permits and social
    security cards.

    The Border States of America takes viewers from the
    Rio Grande Valley to
    towns across the country, telling the story of human smugglers and drug cartels
    that profit from Obama’s policies; of American citizens whose lives are put at
    risk; and the social and economic toll on our communities. The lawlessness on
    the border must be stopped. Border States of America with Nick Searcy exposes
    the illegal activity that this Administration wants to disregard, but the
    American people cannot.

    One fact that the politicians and news media aren’t telling
    the American people, however the Nation Tea Party is expressing strongly, that
    illegal immigrants from more than 75 countries have also been identified,
    including Syria, Albania, Yemen, China, Egypt, Pakistan, Somalia, even people
    from nations currently suffering from the world’s largest Ebola outbreak have
    been apprehended attempting to sneak across the wide open U.S. border.

    It is a must see for
    anyone who wants to protect and defend their country. We cut through the rhetoric
    to bring you the truth about what is really happening with the border crisis.
    Since the former President Ronald Reagan 1986 (Simpson Mazzoli bill) the
    promises of holding employers to be held accountable for hiring illegal aliens,
    to enforcing and constructing a real barrier on the Southern border, we have
    been lied to. And that is not to blame just the Democrats, but the career politicians of the
    GOP. Both parties have failed to connect with the American people, but
    intimidated by the donors and contributions of Special Interests.

    We have a lawless president whose political allies, including
    the Liberal Democrat Party and a media in collusion, which all having embraced
    open borders and a general amnesty. Trillions of dollars are at stake in the
    paying for 8th grade educated people, which must fall upon our
    welfare system to survive.

    For Americans to endure this coming financial crisis, the
    Congress must be forced to amend the Birthright Citizenship Act and the Chain
    Migration policy.

  • fool

    We cant even takecare of the people we have here. How about offering a $3000 invectives to business to hire our inner city poore first, you idiot!

  • David

    Welcome to the United States of China

  • Jorge

    uhhhh…….so much anger coming from everywhere……relax…be hppy.

  • vender

    Bush policy that prevented deportation or illegal women and children helped he sighned into law in 2008 brought a lot of these problem. Mcain has been a seator for a 100 years and is from Arizonia and not once has he sponsered a bill dealing with illegals. The problem is that Congress didn’t want to deal with the illegals because to many of their donors own businesses that hire them. If they w