Venezuelan expat cashes in on investment-for-visa program


After narrowly escaping a third kidnapping attempt, Rodrigo Azpurua, an attorney working in Caracas, moved his family to Miami.

A decade later Azpurua, the founder and chief executive of Riviera Point Development Group, is helping other foreigners establish themselves in the U.S. by matching them with employment-based immigration visas in exchange for a minimal investment of $100,000 and a modest job-creation pledge at one of his commercial projects.

“When the banks’ credit dried up, there were no other options,” Azpurua said, as he showed The Real Deal around the site of a future, $9.5 million office project in Doral for which he’s currently vetting would-be foreign investors.

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The project comes on the heels of the EB-5 funded Professional Center at Riviera Point, an office park in Miramar, where 34 investors from China, Europe and South America put up an average $500,000 in cash to secure their visas.

Six investors — with a net worth between $7 million and more than $1 billion — have already signed up for the Doral project, Azpurua said, adding that Riviera Point offers a nominal 1 percent return.

“For these investors, the value added is not for a great return, it’s for a green card,” he said.