EB-5 visa major CanAm to open offices in India as demand jumps
With Indians expected to emerge as major applicants for the EB-5 visa to get permanent residency in the US, CanAm Investor Services, one of the leading provider of this immigration-linked investment programme, is planning to set up operations here.
The firm is expecting to raise USD 100 million from Indian investors seeking EB 5 visas this year -- five times more than USD 20 million it had garnered in 2014.
The employment-based fifth preference category (EB-5) visa is meant for high net worth investors to earn the Green Card which offers permanent residency in the US for themselves and their immediate family through a one-time minimum investment of USD 5,00,000 into a new US business that creates 10 or more jobs for the Americans.
"We are in the process of setting up operations in India and will most likely have offices in Mumbai and Delhi," CanAm Investor Services CEO Jeff DeCicco told here.
"Currently, our sales staff travel back and forth from the US," he added.
DeCicco noted that CanAm has sees "tremendous" response from here in the last three years with the number of investors growing twofold each year from 2014.
"This year, we believe total amount coming from India into the EB-5 programme will be well over USD 100 million. In 2014, that number was less than USD 20 million," he added.
The firm is currently receiving around 200 applications from Indians annually compared to under 30 during 2007-14. It receives EB-5 applications from young educated professionals in the 25-35 age bracket as well as many upper class parents who want their wards to settle down in the US with lucrative careers, DeCicco said.
He said the recently introduced H1B visa curbs by the Trump administration have affected many Indians who were having long term plans to stay in the US.
Accordingly, he said, "The EB5 industry is fighting to increase the number of visas available for the programme."
At the same time, he noted that the US government is likely to hike investment cap from USD 5,00,000 to USD 8,00,000 under the programme next year.
"Raising the investment amount may slow down demand for EB-5 visas. But, we believe this will still grow dramatically in India as the programme is just beginning to gain in popularity," DeCicco said.
Till very recently, Chinese investors used to account for around 90 per cent of all participants under the EB-5 visa programme. But, with growth in India, Vietnam and other countries, that has declined to less than 70 per cent for CanAm.
- New York
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