By Bradley Zint, EB5 Investors Magazine Staff
For Brazil native Andre Oliver, he says his early years spent in America were among the best in his life. He attended high school as a foreign exchange student in South Carolina and later lived in Hawaii, chasing the waves. He enjoyed a taste of the American Dream.
So, years later when the 43-year-old learned about the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, it came as no surprise that he saw it as a way to stay in the United States permanently this time around.
In 2014, Oliver sold his remaining portion of an industrial construction business his family had started back in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Oliver later worked as a commercial director for another company before going into a wealth management venture with his father.
He thought back on his time in the United States, where he played basketball and soccer for his high school. He even dated a cheerleader. He decided he wanted to go back to the land of the free and continue his education with a master’s degree.
“I appreciate the United States a lot,” Oliver said. “It was a big part of me.”
In 2016, he applied to a Master of Business Administration program at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. It was a mid-career executive program, accelerated for one year of study. He recently graduated with his MBA and is now looking for jobs.
During his studies at USC, Oliver was motivated to apply for EB-5 after a friend had done it. He set himself to learn all about it, reading, by his own estimation, 400 pages on the program. He did his own due diligence.
“If I really focus on something, I know how to structure a problem in order to solve it,” he said. “I’m not afraid to study and take the time it takes.”
Based on his research, Oliver decided to make his investment through CanAm Enterprises, a New York-based regional center. His money is poised to go toward The Spiral, a skyscraper office tower under construction in Manhattan. He filed his I-526 in September. Getting to that point, Oliver admitted, wasn’t easy.
“There were too many projects,” he said.
He got help from EB5Investors.com and even reached out to people in his USC network for real estate advice, such as his teachers.
Brazil is viewed by many experts as an increasingly popular EB-5 market. In 2017, 282 EB-5 visas were issued to Brazilian nationals, up from only 24 in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of State.
Oliver now lives with his wife in the Playa Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles, near the coast. He loves surfing in Malibu, a coastal community outside L.A. known for being the home of many Hollywood celebrities. Their 9-year-old son attends a local elementary school.
“I love to be next the ocean,” he said. “Right now, I’m happy. My family’s happy.”
Oliver still maintains ties to Brazil. He has some financial assets and investments there. In the Brazilian state of Bahia, he owns vacation rentals and he is also planning to open a small hotel there as well as private villas. Oliver also runs a children’s English-language school in southern Brazil called Bridge Kids.
In the United States, Oliver wants to continue his real estate projects, potentially starting with renovating single-family homes.
“We’re going to work hard,” he said.
In giving advice to other EB-5 applicants, he stressed the importance of doing research.
“Do a proper due diligence,” Oliver said.
And like President Ronald Reagan used to say, he added: “Trust, but verify.”