Posted in Local Immigration News
February 25th, 2009 by P. Christopher JaenschToday, Chris Jaensch presented a proposal to Congressman Vern Buchanan’s office for a new temporary visa for retirees who purchase foreclosed properties. Here are the contents of the proposal:
Dear Congressman Buchanan:
I am an immigration attorney in Sarasota, Florida, and currently serve as the Regional Vice Chair for the Tampa Region of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. I am providing this letter in the hope that you will consider a legislative proposal that I have devised that I think would significantly help our local and national economy. In short, the idea is to create a temporary (nonimmigrant) visa for foreign retirees who purchase and retain a preset amount of foreclosed homes.
A large part of my law practice is based on assisting retired foreigners (primarily Europeans with a smaller number from South America) who want to spend more than six months in the U.S.
Under current immigration law, these foreigners can come to the U.S. as visitors on B-2 Visitor Visas or, in some cases, as visitors under the visa waiver program. Generally, they can spend no more than six months per year in the U.S. These clients have been asking me for years why the U.S. government does not have a visa for self-sufficient foreign retirees, but there has never been enough support in Congress for such a visa.
So, I typically have to find some alternative way for them to stay longer in the U.S. Many of my clients invest in businesses and apply for an E-2 investor visa. This visa requires active participation in a business that creates employment for U.S. workers. A few apply for an EB-5 green card based on an investment of $500,000 in a Regional Center. This green card allows a more passive investment, but the investment tends to be more risky and there are no approved Regional Centers on the west coast of Florida. I have many clients who have ample funds to invest, but are not satisfied with these two options.
Therefore, I would like to propose a new temporary visa that would be valid for five years for foreign retirees. To qualify for this visa, the foreign retiree would have to show the following:
1. He or she is over 50 years old
2. He or she has a source of income, would be self-sufficient in the U.S. and would not need to work here.
3. He or she has purchased in full (no mortgage) four foreclosed homes, paid all outstanding taxes on the homes and is actively seeking to rent the homes to others.
4. He or she owns a personal residence in the U.S., maintains a residence outside the U.S., and does not have the intention of staying in the U.S. permanently.
5. He or she is otherwise admissible into the U.S.
In my view, this new visa could easily be incorporated into the existing regulatory framework.
The benefits of this visa are many and include:
1. It would create a demand for foreclosed homes, which might ultimately increase prices.
2. It would bring new money into the U.S. and would not require bank financing for the homes.
3. It would help ensure that the foreclosed homes are contributing to local and state governments in the forms of property taxes, are being maintained, and are being offered for rent to the public.
4. It would enable self-sufficient retirees to live in the U.S. year round, increasing the time that they would spend their money here, which would help our retail and service businesses.
5. It would increase the desirability of the U.S. as a retirement destination, which would increase demand for housing.
The general principals of this proposal could actually be implemented without new legislation under the current E-2 investor visa rules. It would simply require the Department of State to determine that renting four foreclosed properties is a “real and active” business enterprise and that the taking the homes off the market and renting them out satisfies the marginality requirement because it makes a “significant economic contribution.” It would easily meet the other E-2 requirements (e.g. substantial investment).
BLOG READERS: If you support the creation of a new retiree visa or the expansion of the E-2 rules to include investments in foreclosed properties, please contact Congressman Buchanan’s office at (941) 951-6643