Melissa White discusses the Community Foundation’s EB-5 Visa plan
The Key Biscayne Community Foundation’s Director, Melissa White, sat with Islander News and discussed a new program for the foundation.
IN. What’s the new plan with EB-5 Visas?
MW. The idea is (to assist) families that are looking for that type of Visa and want to contribute in a way that is beneficial to all Miami-Dade County; to make a positive difference.
The way we see it, since Key Biscayne has a lot of different immigrants participating in Visa programs, we could perhaps make the process easier through our work in Liberty City. The minimum investment would be more accessible for a lot of families. It would create opportunities that help make a difference and improve lives.
Our goal is to create a kind of innovation space that investors in Key Biscayne can partake in. Investing in an innovation center in Liberty City that impacts student's lives through vocational work and training.
IN. So the main goal of the program is education investment?
MW. The goal is to make a difference in the work we do in Liberty City, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County. We have a number of partners that we have worked with, like the Children’s Trust, the Miami-Dade Public School System, the Miami Children’s Initiative, and our own Chief Press Foundation. Through the work with these partners, we try to impact the lives of children in Liberty City. I think we are being successful.
IN. Is there a specific use of investments?
MW. We plan to use the investments for a FAB Lab, a fabrication lab that teaches skills for the manufacturing of products. It’s like a makers lab. In addition to that, there will be vocational training programs. Also, force development programs so the students in Liberty City have an opportunity to positively impact the economy of Miami-Dade County, as well as preparing them for when they graduate. They can have job skills, or they can go to college and hopefully be lifted out of intergenerational poverty.
IN. It’s only for Key Biscayne residents as potential investors?
MW. It’s initially for Key Biscayne residents. We know there are a lot of people in the village looking for this kind of Visa, but it is not geographically limited.
For example, someone who lives in Venezuela and wants to start a process for citizenship could apply. There is a process and protocol, they have to work with an immigration attorney or go through a Regional Center. If they go to immigration attorney, there has to be a source of funds. The application has to be approved by United States CIS. Then they get the temporary green card. Once that is approved, they wait for a Visa and temporary residency. The entire process may take anywhere from two to three years. It can be expedited if the source of funds is able to be clearly documented on the onset. The minimum investment amount has been increased and changed from $500,000 to $900, 000, so that becomes another hurdle. But for those immigrants that are looking for a path to citizenship, it is probably one of the fastest ways today.
For more information on this and other Key Biscayne Community Foundation programs, call (305) 361-2770, or visit the Foundation online.
For more information on EB-5 Visas, click here.