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H-1B Visa Holder Faces Jail for Buying Property in Florida

by Mohammad Naseemaa
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the state of Florida has passed legislation prohibiting Chinese holders of H-1B visas to having assets in the state of Florida. Jin Bian, a Chinese software developer who has been in the United States for a decade on an H-1B visa, may face jail time for purchasing property in Florida. Bian, 31, desired to reduce his one-hour commute by buying a home close to his Tampa, Florida office. He was astonished to learn that he could face jail time for purchasing assets due to his legal immigration status. Chinese citizens on H-1B visas are not allowed to buy property in Florida, according to a law passed almost a year ago. “I was really shocked. It’s just purchasing property. Once I learned that, I didn’t even bother to look anymore,” Bian, originally from Nanjing, China, told CNN.

Chinese citizens without green cards face a felony charge and possible prison time if they purchase property in the state. Sellers and real estate agents can also be held liable under the law. Susan Li, who holds a green card, said she “really felt the discrimination” when she learned about the bill.

What is the Florida Law on Property Purchase for H-1B Holders?
In July of that year, the governor, Ron DeSantis, agreed upon legislation prohibiting Chinese nationals with no the United States visas to buying property in the state of Florida. Florida Senate Amendment 264 additionally places limitations on citizens of Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Syria. It prohibits them from purchasing assets within ten kilometers of military bases or vital infrastructure. Yet, Indians are not included in the law. The law reflects Florida’s stance against what DeSantis describes as “the United States’ greatest geopolitical threat the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”

Bian is now reconsidering his future in Florida. “We’re ordinary people. We don’t talk about these political things. I think 99.99% of people here just want to have a good life… I don’t think California will ever have this kind of law,”  He remains hopeful the law might be reversed but plans to move back to California if there are no changes in the next year or two.

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