Strict norms in the offing for the H1-B and L1 Visa Programme may have left thousands of Indian techies looking for a boost in their career in the lurch, the case is starkly different for those with deep pockets.
Rich Indians, it is learnt, are now lining up to invest $500,000 (about Rs.3.2 crore) to get US citizenship within 5 years through the EB5 Visa, popularly called the “Golden Visa”.
“We have signed up 210 investors in a very short time and 42 are Indians,” said Rogelio Caceres, co-founder & CMO of LCR Capital Partners, an investment cum immigration consultancy that invests applicants’ funds into companies such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Four Seasons.
“For EB-5, we have witnessed interest from top executives at companies including Reliance, Aditya Birla, Brain and McKinsey apart from business families. These guys do not want their kids to face uncertainty while looking for jobs in the US,” said Caceres.
While approvals of US visas through other routes are static over the years, Caceres says the number of approvals for Indians through EB-5 route is growing by 30 per cent each year.
“Heightened awareness of the EB-5 program and the fact that there are not many other avenues available for Indian nationals to obtain their US Green Cards have contributed to the increase of EB-5 filings this year,” Jose Latour, Esq. President and Managing Director, American Venture Solutions (AVS), a Miami-based investment immigration firm, told BusinessLine.
Launching its operations in India in 2017, the US Immigration Fund (USIF) is confident that affluent Indians will get the green card in shorter time compared to H1-B visa programme, by investing in Targeted Employment Area (TEA) as per the EB5 visa programme.
“Under the EB5 criteria, you can work with whosoever you want, you have much more negotiating power. If you chose the right EB5 plan, you are going to make an investment, your money is going to be tied up, and you are going to get it back. If you can afford it, EB5 programme is better than H1B,” a former diplomatic and consular with over 25 years of investment based immigration experience Jose Latour said.
"Given the uncertainty over the H1-B visa programme, more and more Indians graduating from US universities are opting for the EB5 visa for US citizenship," Andrew Graves, USIF's Director of Business Development in India, told IANS.
The EB-5 program also called the "Golden Visa" was introduced as part of the 1990 Immigration Act
Key Points about the EB-5 Visa Programme:
· Investment of $1 million or $500,000
· Investment must be “at risk” and returns not guaranteed
· Investment must create 10 jobs
· Full family residency (Spouse + unmarried Children under 21)
· USA Green Card. Permanent Residence
· Eligibility to live and work anywhere in the USA
· Potential for US citizenship after 5 years
· Flexible. No requirement to reside
India is sixth in the list of EB5 beneficiaries with 149, while China being at top with 7,500 visas accounting 75.3 per cent. However, US firms believe that India will soon will be at second position.