Edward Beshara is Lebanese and a third-generation Australian who moved to the United States in 1978. His story of migration is one that turned into a career.
“We are a family of immigrants. That’s the story of most Americans,” he said.
Beshara, 66, followed his parents to the United States after he finished law school and was working as a barrister in Australia. Beshara earned a second law degree from University of Florida and started Beshara Global Migration, the first law firm in Orlando to focus entirely on migration.
His Maitland-based firm helps business people, investors, professionals, executives and their families through the process of obtaining U.S. visas and green cards to live and work legally. Beshara represents U.S. EB-5 Regional Centers, assisting business owner secure federal approvals for foreign investors.
“I would like to think I am following my father’s footsteps,” he said.
Beshara’s father came to the U.S. to further his studies and his family’s textile business as a men’s fashion designer. He returned to Australia with an entrepreneurial spirit and a wife.
“He saw these wonderful new ideas,” Beshara said of his father. “Any foreign national coming in are bringing in ideas … we should think there are values of people coming into the country,” said Beshara, who currently spends his time trying to affirm EB-5 petitions before a new law goes into effect in November increasing the amount of money an investor has to put into a project to create jobs and qualify him or herself and family for green cards.
Beshara’s ancestors made their way from Lebanon to Brazil in the 1880s, and later to Australia and the United State. His parents met in Massachusetts, but returned to Australia, where the family dabbled in various business start-ups inspired by their time in the states. Those included a drive-in movie theater that first grocery store to sell sliced meat.His wife Tina, was born in Orlando, but grew up in Frankfort, Germany, adding yet another continent to the Beshara family tree.
The couple has two daughters, Alexis, who will be 21 in October and is studying event planning at the University of Central Florida, and Natashya, who is 35 and vice president of marketing for Web.com in Jacksonville.
When it comes to helping investors get to the United States and get a green card, sometimes Beshara has to think beyond the direct route. He also likes to help his clients and their families integrate and help communities with that integration.
“The idea of integration is very important,” Beshara said. And then for a community, “there also is a need that if they are going to be part of a society, they have to know the benefits of people coming in.”
In 2000, Beshara set out to help both groups – immigrants and the Orlando community. He started a variety talk show – with an in-house band and a live studio audience. He produced and hosted the program titled “American Faces” on a local TV station.
Beshara said he produced about 30 shows in which he interviewed guests who had moved to the U.S. about their contributions and showcased their culture via song, dance and food. “We thought ‘how can we educate people on the benefits of foreign nationals?’,” he said.
For Beshara’s innovative work in migration, he won the 2019 innovator of the year award from the IIUSA – Invest in the USA - awards for economic advancement.
“I was fortunate to have my wife, Tina, with me on that trip when I won. No one knew,” he said of the award.