subscribe Support our award-winning journalism. The Premium package (digital only) is R30 for the first month and thereafter you pay R129 p/m now ad-free for all subscribers.
Subscribe now
The spotlight is on South Florida. Picture: SUPPLIED
The spotlight is on South Florida. Picture: SUPPLIED

During a recent American Dream webinar titled “Spotlight on South Florida: Green Card Investment Programme”, a panel of experts discussed the changing landscapes of immigration and the EB-5 investment visa programme.

The panel was moderated by financial journalist Simon Brown and included: 

  • Stuart Ferguson, CEO of American Dream;
  • Leon Versfeld, managing partner at Versfeld & Hugo;
  • Chis Immelman, head of Pam Golding International; and
  • Sheldon Halcrow, CEO and president of Caleo Capital

The experts discussed EB-5 and how the new regulations governing the programme affect potential investors. They also provided insights to attendees wanting to immigrate to the US.

Here is an overview of some of the topics:  

EB-5 and new regulations

The EB-5 programme is an employment-based visa programme in the US that allows foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency (green card) by investing in a commercial enterprise that creates jobs in the country. Versfeld & Hugo's Leon Versfeld said the EB-5 programme underwent a major overhaul in March 2022 with the introduction of new regulations that aim to modernise and streamline it.

Some of the changes to the programme include more integrity and due diligence and ensuring that foreign investors are protected. The new regulations are also more flexible with regard to the source of funds and concurrent filing, allowing families to map out specific timelines for relocation and settlement in the US. Though the minimum investment amount increased from $500 000 to $800 000, the programme has been extended until 2027. 

Changing landscapes of general immigration 

Pam Golding International's Chis Immelman spoke about the changing landscape and general immigration trends. “There have been significant changes made to the Malta, Montenegro and Greek programmes, while Cyprus has closed its citizenship programme and Portugal's will be coming to an end soon. The top five places for global wealth migration are now the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Singapore, Israel and the US. The EB-5 programme makes the US a glaring option for most South Africans to consider,” he said. 

Deferred payment

“The ability to file with a deferred payment allows potential SA investors to file with immigration using a down payment of $250 000 together with a promissory note. However, investors need to provide supplementary documentation to show where the balance of the funds will come from (such as the sale of a home, business or investment portfolio). This is to demonstrate that the investor is actively involved in ensuring they have the full $800 000 in place before the file being adjudicated,” said Stuart Ferguson, CEO of American Dream.

South Florida as an investment destination

South Florida is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country, with a population of more than 6-million people. Home values have increased by 25.8% over the past year and it is predicted this value will continue to rise by 14.1% over the next year. Florida has no state income tax and also offers a range of other tax incentives and benefits.

“It has become a desirable destination and popular investment node due to the lifestyle benefits it offers immigrants. It has one of the lowest tax rates in the US, the best weather, affordable property prices, excellent schools and good infrastructure,” said Caleo Capital's Sheldon Halcrow. 

The 1818 Park project  

1818 Park is located in Hollywood, Florida, close to the Miami coast, restaurants and business hub. This development consists of mixed-use, luxury residential condos, five-star resort facilities and modern apartments. It has attracted more than 77 SA investors and is now 95% leased.

The 1818 Park project. Picture: SUPPLIED
The 1818 Park project. Picture: SUPPLIED

The 1818 Park project has also created more than 1,600 jobs, which is important to consider from an EB-5 immigration perspective in terms of adjudication. 

“American Dream has had a 100% success rate and has never experienced capital failure. We work with a number of specialised immigration attorneys throughout the US, including the likes of Leon Versfeld, together with strategic partners like Caleo Capital, who help with understanding tax consequences and externalising funds on our clients’ behalf. We have teamed up with Pam Golding International and it's great to have their endorsement on our offerings,” said Ferguson. 

American Dream will be doing a series of roadshows in May and June engaging with investors who are considering the EB-5 programme in Durban, Joburg, Cape Town and other areas in SA.

To get in touch for the upcoming roadshows and to schedule a personalised one-on-one session, contact American Dream at info@americandream-eb5.com

Watch the full discussion below: 

This article was sponsored by American Dream. 

subscribe Support our award-winning journalism. The Premium package (digital only) is R30 for the first month and thereafter you pay R129 p/m now ad-free for all subscribers.
Subscribe now