Written byAyushi Chamoli
In an enormous leap, the number of Indians issued EB-5 visas in the US has gone up by three times in the last two years.
The number of EB-5 visas issued increased by 293% in 2018, compared to 2016.
585 visas were issued in fiscal 2018, during 12-month period that ended last September, compared to 174 in fiscal 2017 and 149 in fiscal 2016.
EB-5 visa, an employment-based fifth preference category (known as 'cash for green card'), was created under the Immigration Act, 1990.
One can apply for EB-5 visa by investing at least Rs. 7cr in a business, which employs minimum ten Americans.
People generally invest in regional centers rather than opening their own businesses and apply for permanent residence after holding the conditional visa for 21-months.
Although the current wait-time for Indians to obtain EB-5 visa is 18-30 months, it can increase depending on the approval of the pending visa applications.
Notably, the applications for EB-5 visas have increased as obtaining the H-1B visa became difficult.
Many reports suggest that some rich families send the investment amount to their kids studying in the US so that they can get EB-5 visa.
Mitchell Wexler, global immigration law firm partner, said, "Children of several H-1B workers are also aging out. Post 21 years, they can no longer hold the dependent H-4 visa, but need to migrate to another visa or self-deport to India."
"Given the backlog which investors could face in the future under EB-5, investments must be planned in advance to protect child's interest," he added.
H-1B visa, unlike EB-5 visa, does not require any investment.
One just has to find a job with an American company, which is willing to sponsor it.
In case an individual loses job, the visa is taken away and the person needs to go back.
However, US President Donald Trump's anti-immigration stance has made the policies for obtaining H-1B visa pretty difficult.
According to the statistics issued by the US Department of State, Indians are behind Chinese and Vietnamese "investors" to apply for EB-5 visa.
Each year only 10,000 conditional visas are issued, with a 7% country cap.
In case the visa quota is unused, it is redistributed among other countries.
Currently, Chinese have a wait time of around 14 years with 8,180 pending applications.
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