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Fraud and the EB-5 visa

For foreign nationals who are looking for investment opportunities, building projects in Florida may provide more than a return on their money. The potential for an EB-5 visa and U.S. permanent residency may also be a draw. According to the Wall Street Journal, developers of condominiums in Miami have seen an influx in foreign investors from Turkey who believe the opportunities are sound, and are considering making the move to Florida.

Many real estate developers are targeting the market in Turkey, and even making the trip to that country to meet with potential investors and facilitate the deal. However, Stowe Today reports that not everyone who invests in Miami real estate is achieving their goal of a green card. This dream may not be realized for many because of charges of fraud against the developers of Jay Peak Resort.

Seven hundred foreign nationals have invested money in this project, which is being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Although all of these immigrants have either conditional visas or green cards, the outcome of the case may determine whether they may truly become permanent residents. The status may not be kept if the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service determines that the investments did not serve the purpose of creating jobs and bolstering the U.S. economy, even though they were made in good faith.

Changes may be on the way for the EB-5 visa program that would prevent this type of fraud from jeopardizing the status of foreign nationals. Alternately, the program may not be renewed after its September deadline, which would end this path to a green card permanently. 

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