20 Feb USCIS Expects Rise in Argentinian EB-5 Investors
The increasingly tough currency controls placed upon Argentina’s citizens may spur an exodus rather than prevent international investments; a backfire to a plan that has already depressed investment and driven up inflation in the country. Analysts are expecting to see an increase of interest in U.S. immigration, in particular a heightened interest the EB-5 immigrant investor program.
President Christina Fernandez is attempting to lock in currency stability and end the country’s trend toward investing in American dollars. This push, though, is distorting the economy, already scarred by devaluations, even further.
The new controls use a multiple exchange rate system that is encouraging black market trading. The official exchange rate in Argentina is currently 4.66 pesos per dollar. But a virtual ban on foreign currency purchases, as well as a 15% tax on credit card use abroad, has pushed the underground rate to approximately 6.30 pesos per dollar, equaling a 35% premium.
These measures are similar to those in fellow South American country Venezuela, which has experienced a recent rush of citizens leaving their home country for better futures in the United States.
The Argentine preoccupation with saving in U.S. dollars is warranted, given the collapse of a decade-long currency peg in 2002, which led to a freeze and devaluation of bank deposits.
Since Fernandez’ initiation of limiting dollar purchases and curbing imports to increase the trade surplus, consumer and business confidence have sank. And any time confidence sinks, immigration rises, as can be seen with China’s wealthy, as well as Venezuela’s. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) statistics, Argentinian visa usage in the EB-5 program has grown significantly over the past decade. As a result of its organic increase, paired with the recent economic sanctions imposed by its leadership, USCIS is preparing for Argentine EB-5 application volume to increase significantly over the following years.
Chinese and Venezuelan investors have already noted the value in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, and have capitalized on Regional Centers across the nation, including South Florida’s U.S. Immigration Fund. As an investor with $500,000 or $1M to place into United States businesses and developments, he or she can obtain permanent residency via green card for their entire family.
As investors continue to flock to South Florida, bringing families with them, the region continues to prosper. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County have recently experienced a rise in real estate prices, in both rental and sales markets, and job growth has edged toward lower unemployment rates. Positive outlooks for the area continue to grow, thanks to a rebounding economy, foreign investments, a rise in home sales and regeneration of real estate developments.