Orlando City owner Flavio Augusto da Silva is using a controversial U.S. government program to offer green cards to foreign investors.
In what appears to be the first such move for a sports stadium, Da Silva is using the program known as EB-5 to offer a U.S. visa in exchange for a $500,000 stake in the venue the Brazilian is trying to build for his MLS team.
EB-5 visas, generally used to obtain funding for infrastructure projects such as hotels, have been scrutinized by Congress as the number granted has grown to almost 9,000 last year from fewer than 100 in 2003, according to the New York Times.
Orlando City is building a $156 million stadium without subsidies from Florida lawmakers, and Da Silva expects to cover about half of the construction costs through the visa program.
The Times reported the team already has raised $15 million with 30 investors through the EB-5 method.
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