While European Residency programmes – and most notably Portugal’s Golden Visa Programme, remain very popular among South Africans wishing to obtain a Schengen Visa and European residency, others have expressed a preference for the USA should they one day want to relocate overseas, setting up a new life and businesses for themselves and their children.
Says Chris Immelman, head of Pam Golding International: “As a result of this demand, we now offer access to the USA Immigrant Investor EB-5 programme which provides the opportunity to acquire US citizenship via investment in a commercial property venture.”
Created by US Congress in 1990 to stimulate the US economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors, EB-5 is currently the fastest way to obtain a US Green Card for your immediate family, including children under the age of 21. Applicants need to invest only $500 000 in an eligible business that will create 10 jobs, and the Green Card is valid for 10 years.
“However,” says Immelman, “indications from the US government are that entry to this programme will increase to $1 million plus during 2019, so time is of the essence in order to take advantage of the more accessible window of opportunity via an investment of $500 000.”
He says this investment is kept in a secure US escrow account until your application is approved by the government, at which point it is transferred to the project. Should your application for a Green Card be refused, your investment is returned to you immediately. It usually takes 18-24 months from the time of your investment to obtain your US Green Card.
Says Immelman: “In providing this service – and in offering a turnkey service – we have teamed up with American Dream, which is conveniently represented in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, and which over the past 15 years has helped hundreds of locals gain lawful permanent residence in the USA via the EB-5 investment programme.
“American Dream’s professional panel of attorneys and team of experts and partners are highly skilled in the legal practices around the EB-5 investment processes out of South Africa. Situated both here and on the ground in the USA, they have a wide scope of understanding what South Africans want and need to know before embarking on this intricate process. In this way they provide applicants with a sense of comfort and trust while removing all the hassle.”
American Dream in turn works with CA Ventures, a well-established Chicago-based real estate investment management company headed up by CEO Thomas Scott, which has an international portfolio including $7.8 billion in assets which they develop, own and operate in the US, Latin America and Europe. With CA Ventures’ experience and skills, they manage the investments of their partners, such as American Dream, while providing direct access to ground-up developments catering for the EB-5 programme.
A model which has flourished, the EB-5 programme involves a co-operative effort that incorporates numerous experienced professionals in a wide range of fields, including immigration attorneys, real estate developers, financial institutions, corporate attorneys, securities attorneys, economists and overseas consultants, among others.
Those qualifying for a Green Card via the EB-5 programme have the right to live, work, study or build a business anywhere in the USA, with access to the finest educational institutions, medical facilities and social programmes at the same cost a US citizen would pay. Importantly, it also affords the opportunity to become a full US citizen after only five years of permanent residency. And, upon successful completion of the EB-5 project invested in, you receive the full return of the $500 000 invested.
Adds Immelman: “All the above investment projects are overseen by a group of highly experienced professionals who take care of job creation and overall operation, so there is no need to actively participate in the management of the business.”