December 5, 2008

Real estate agents say foreigners retiring in U.S. will aid economy, housing market

The immigration debate in the United States may have taken a backseat to mounting economic crisis concern. But some are claiming immigration - specifically foreigners who retire in the U.S. -- could be part of a solution by stimulating the economy and helping to mitigate the ripple effects of a slumping housing market.

The International Herald Tribune's news blogger, Kevin Brass, writes, "Estate agents in the United States hope a new administration in Washington D.C. will kick start talks for a retirement visa, the so-called 'silver card' which would allow foreigners to easily retire in the U.S."

The "retirement visa" is being met by challengers. The concept, those in opposition say, would encourage immigration and pose a national security risk. But proponents of the idea say a retirement visa would allow foreign citizens of a certain age with a steady pension fund income and a few other verifiable requirements to retire in the U.S. without a hassle, Brass writes.

"This is not an immigration proposal; it's an economic proposal," Tony Macaluso, a Florida-based estate agent proposing the visa told the Tribune. A recent study commissioned by NAR found 7.5 percent of foreign citizens polled expressed an interest in retiring in the U.S. -- an unassuming number that could translate to millions of potential buyers, he said. That could provide a much-needed boost for markets like Florida, California and Colorado.

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