For some, they certainly are. At least that's what Sam Sutton of Lake Buena Vista Regional Center told the Orlando Sentinel in that publication's recent profileof the EB-5 Visa Program.
Lake Buena Vista "is an award-winning, established condominium-hotel development already built and operating with its amenities in place," according to the regional center's marketing material. "The condos are in a rental program managed by a professional hotel management company and offer investors immediate cash flow."
But holdups in the USCIS approval process -- what Sutton said amounts to "a silly misunderstanding over paperwork" -- has prevented him from moving forward with the $30 million his regional center already collected from immigrant investors. What's more, he worries future investors may put their money in other EB-5 projects "if they get word that Florida projects are slow to get federal approvals."
Whether Lake Buena Vista's situation has changed since the Sentinel story ran is unknown. Regional center operators were unable to respond to EB5info.com's request for an update prior to publication.
The first phase of Lake Buena Vista's project was actually completed years ago using funds from the EB-5 program. Sutton is waiting on approvals for expansions to the existing resort -- development that will also be financed with immigrant investor capital.
A spokeswoman for USCIS, Sharon Scheidhauer, told the Sentinel that processing EB-5 applications takes time because USCIS needs "to ensure [that the regional centers] are legitimate businesses and that they can meet specific job-creation goals." When asked about Lake Buena Vista's application, she declined to comment.