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Renewed hope for US retirement visa

Estate agents in the United States hope that the impending change of government will help to generate renewed enthusiasm for the 'Silver Card', a retirement visa, which would allow foreigners to spend their retirement in the U.S.

Whilst close neighbours such as Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize have a variety of programmes designed to encourage international pensioners to settle and buy homes there, the U.S. offers no simple path for a foreign citizen to retire to destinations such as Florida or California.

Tony Macaluso, a past international operations chairman of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and now fulfilling a similar role in the Florida Association, is leading the drive for change and believes that 'there are a lot of people around the world who would love to enjoy their golden years in the US'

He went on to say that 'Although details still need to be hashed out, 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 US without hassle.' In his opinion 'this is not an immigration proposal, it's an economic proposal.'

'If this was in place by now, a lot of inventory would be absorbed and prices would be strengthened because we would have an active market,' claimed Macaluso.

A recent study commissioned by NAR found that 7.5 percent of foreign citizens polled expressed an interest in retiring to the US. According to an enthusiastic Macaluso, this could translate into millions of potential buyers and would thus provide a much-needed boost for housing markets in states such as Florida, California and Colorado.

However, with immigration matters generally high on the agenda in the US, the NAR seem to have been holding back on the concept. Maybe now, the Florida Association of Realtors can use the financial crisis as a springboard to help find a legislator willing to carry the proposal to Congress.