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Economy / Business

Tampa Council Considers Foreign Investors' Program to Spur Jobs


On Thursday, Tampa City Council will discuss pursuing a program that could attract wealthy, foreign investors to the area and in turn create new jobs for residents.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' EB-5 Investor Visa program has been around for more than two decades.

In Miami, the South Florida Investment Regional Center is using the EB-5 program to attract capital investments. The program is a simple quid pro quo.

The foreign investor makes a minimum investment of $500,000 which must produce a minimum of 10 permanent jobs. In turn, the investor and immediate family can obtain green cards or conditional, permanent resident status in the U.S.

Miami has a public-private partnership running the program. Orlando is reportedly working on creating its own EB-5 program. And, Tampa City Council has held a previous workshop on EB-5.

Councilwoman Yvonne Capin is a strong supporter of the idea after hearing how it’s stimulated building permits and jobs in Miami and other cities.

“Dallas is an EB-5 Regional city. Vermont is an EB-5 regional state,” Capin said. “One of the unforeseen benefits in Dallas is their airport because of the EB-5 investment from Asia their airport now has international flights to China and Taiwan.”

Capin plans to present a resolution Thursday asking council to establish a task force that would advise council within 60 days on the kind of EB-5 regional program the city should pursue.