Rejected H-1B visas, wealthy Indians have found a 'golden' ticket
With increasing restrictions on H-1B visas, Indians' dreams of working in the US and eventually getting permanent residency have taken a blow.
Hence, taking after their Chinese counterparts, wealthy Indians seem to have found a way, rather a 'golden' ticket, into the US.
As the name suggests, these visas which provide a path to a green card, don't come cheap.
Here's more on it.
A $500,000 investment in the US economy ensures permanent residency
Called the EB-5 visa, or the "investor visa", these visas allow foreign nationals to gain permanent residency in the US for a minimum investment of $500,000 in the US economy.
Over the last decade, the vast majority of these visas were given to wealthy Chinese nationals.
However, India is catching up fast, and is currently the third largest country of EB-5 investors.
10,000 EB-5 visas are issued annually, each country gets 700
The annual issuance of EB-5 visas is capped at 10,000. Under EB-5 rules, applicants from any single country can take up to 700 of the 10,000 available visas. If a country doesn't hit the cap, unused visas are redistributed to countries which have hit it.
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US businesses looking towards India for investments
Like China, India has a fast growing economy, and has thousands of aspirants looking to immigrate to the US.
Owing to backlogs in Chinese applications, India has now become the major country of focus for US businesses, especially real estate developers, to secure investment from abroad.
Marketing efforts, in turn, have led to a growth of much-needed awareness among Indians about EB-5 visas.
Indians had no idea about EB-5, 2-3 years back
"Wealthy Indians had no idea two-three years ago that they could get a green card by investing in a business or a real estate project," Rogelio Caceres, co-founder of LCR Capital Partners - a company that connects wealthy foreigners to EB-5-eligible investment projects, told Quartz.
Chinese backlogs aided the meteoric rise in Indian EB-5 applicants
It's interesting to note that the meteoric rise in EB-5 applicants from India started sometime in 2017, when EB-5 applications from Chinese nationals took a blow, owing to a staggering number of backlogs over the years.
Between 2008 and 2017, Chinese nationals had bagged 75% of all EB-5 visas, creating a huge backlog in applications in the process.
This, it turns out, helped Indians.
India currently has no EB-5 application backlogs
Owing to backlogs, experts estimate that it'll now take around 15 years to process an EB-5 application from a Chinese national.
On the other hand, India currently has no backlogs as far as EB-5 applications are concerned, and applicants can get a green card via this channel within two years.
Additionally, India's EB-5 investors are also turning out to be different from China's.
How Indian EB-5 applicants are different from their Chinese counterparts
In terms of modes of application, a typical Chinese investor applies for an EB-5 visa through a US consulate while living in China.
Almost half of all Indian EB-5 applicants, on the other hand, already holds some US visa, be it a work visa or a student visa.
Whether this has a bearing on the speed of processing EB-5 applications isn't clear as yet.
Merit-based green cards might take up to 70 years
Owing to arbitrary limits imposed on the number of available green cards and the resultant backlogs, Indian, Mexican, Vietnamese, and Chinese workers might have to wait up to 70 years to get merit-based green cards. The expensive EB-5, understandably, is a much faster option.
US Visa Rules
United States of America (USA)
Most asked questions
How quickly can one get EB-5 visas?
Askedby Dhanya Srinivas