Global Pindwale - Race for Rs 3.2 crore ticket to US heats up

Global Pindwale - Race for Rs 3.2 crore ticket to US heats up

More than four persons from India are pledging to invest $5,00,000 (around Rs 3.23 crore at current exchange rate) in the US and get the much coveted green card. The race is heating up especially as the EB-5 visa programme is to come to an end in its present form in September.

In 2015, 239 EB-5 visa applications were filed by Indians at the US embassy .

This comes out to an average of 4.5 applications every week. The figure for 2014 was 99.

India has been ranked as the third country after China and Vietnam to be the largest investor in the United States by way of EB5 visas, with an investment of over $120 million, registering a growth rate of 140% since 2014. Procuring EB5 visas amounts to investing in the US, with a minimum amount of $500,000. 00.

Though the official data for 2016 is yet to be re leased by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), immigration law firms and lawyers believe that the number of applications had been on the rise for 2016 as well.

One such qualified investment can result in a green card for the applicants, their spouses and even the children, below 21 years of age.

According to immigration regulator USCIS, the EB-5 program was created by the US Congress in 1990 to stimulate the US economy through job creation USA India and capital investment by foreign investors. The EB-5 visa program allows foreigners, who invest between $500,000 and $1 million in qualified projects in the US, to apply for permanent resident status for themselves and their families.

The EB-5 included two phases. After making the investment, the investor first submits the application, giving the investor's family the ability to apply for their conditional green cards. Two years later, a second application removes all the condition to the green card, which then becomes fully renewable every ten years.

"As the United States EB-5 invest ment visa programme might expire in September, applicants making a rush for EB-5 visas should act cautiously and guard themselves against fraud by following a step-by-step approach and engaging a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-licensed securities representative," Vaughan de Kirby , US investment immigration attorney told TOI.

Vaughan said that the processing time for Global category on an average is 18 months for Indian citizens. These visas offer employment slots at more competitive wages, which are freely negotiable rather, than being dictated by the employer.

"Given the uncertainty of travel restrictions, a green card is the best protection. If freedom to travel, work and live anywhere in the US is what you are looking at, an EB-5 green card is just the right thing for you provided you keep the dos and don'ts in mind," Vaughan added.

The investor visa programme works in two ways. First is through direct in vestment, where one can invest a mini mum of $1 million, start a business from scratch and create 10 full-time jobs in the US.

The second way is simpler and requires a ale one-time investment of $500,000 in a government-approved EB-5 business that creates 10 or more full-time American jobs in rural areas. What's more, one also redeem the investment after five years.

"If you look at the demographics of India, with 1.3 billion people, and a highly educated and sophisticated up per and middle class, it is one of the largest immigrant countries to the US, and it makes Indians perfect for this programme," said IT professional from Chandigarh, Jasvinder Sethi, who is planning to apply for the EB-5 visa.

Meanwhile, it seems that the US government is planning to terminate the EB-5 completely by September. However, it has also floated a discussion docu ment suggesting that the $500,000 investment under the programme be increased to $1,300,000, in case the program is not terminated.

What is the eb-5 visa?

The EB-5 programme provides permanent green card for the applicant and their immediate family. As green card holders, the children of EB-5 applicants have access to all levels of the American education system, allowing them to earn secondary and even graduate degrees from any of the universities in the US. In turn, the qualifying investment creates American jobs and supports the local economies of the areas in need.

Where can you invest?

Investments in EB-5 can be in any industry (residential, retail, commercial, health, infrastructure) as long as the project will create the required jobs.One might hear that the project should be affiliated with a regional centre, which is an entity that obtained a license from the government to sponsor EB-5. However, non-regional centre projects, known as direct EB-5 projects are also viable investments opportunities, but are not affiliated with any regional centre and have to create jobs directly.

Future of the scheme?

The EB-5 visa has just been extended in its current form through Sept. Earlier, it was to end in April. What happens after that will depend on a review being conducted by the Donald Trump administration and the US Congress. Both parties in the US Congress have expressed an interest in revising the scheme.


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