Chandigarh: Invest at least $5 lakh (Rs 3.26 crore) in America’s business, education, and real estate, and become its permanent resident. Seeing the Indian craze for this EB-5 visa programme, one of the private study-abroad consultants in Chandigarh has collaborated with the US Immigration Fund to find Indian investors for America.
If the investment is in a qualified project that creates 10 full-time jobs for American workers, the applicant and his or her family gets a permanent green card. US Immigration Fund Asia-Pacific operations director John Linn said in a seminar in Chandigarh: “As the Indian economy is growing rapidly, there is a lot of new business exchange between our countries. The great investment vehicle has a huge potential.”
“Recently, US President Donald Trump signed the HR 601 Continuing Appropriations Act, which extended the EB-5 visa application deadline till December, but the word is that the investment amount can increase from $5 lakh to $8 lakh (Rs 5.22 crore). While there will be no extension beyond December, it could end earlier with little or no notice to the market. We strongly encourage prospective investors to conduct their due diligence on EB-5 with some haste,” Linn said.
Earlier, the US government had decided to end this EB-5 visa programme in September. The extension till December has increased the number of applicants.
India third in race
After China and Vietnam, India is third largest investor in the US by way of the EB-5 visa. The Indian investment of more than $12 crore (Rs 783.52 crore) has grown 140% since 2014. According to immigration regulator USCIS, the American Congress created the EB-5 in 1990 to stimulate the US economy through job creation and foreign capital investment. The maximum allowed investment is $1 million or Rs 6.52 crore.
“If you look at the demographics of India, with 130 crore people and a highly educated and sophisticated upper and middle class, it is one of the largest immigrant countries to the US, and it makes Indians perfect for this programme,” Chandigarh-based IT professional Jasvinder Sethi, who attended the EB-5 seminar, said.
The EB-5 includes two phases. After making the investment, the aspirant first submits the application, which enables his or her family to apply for conditional green card. Two years later, a second application removes all the conditions to the green card, which then becomes fully renewable every 10 years. US investment immigration attorney Vaughan de Kirby told TOI: “As the United States EB-5 investment visa programme might expire in December, the applicants making a rush should act cautiously and guard themselves against fraud by following a step-by-step approach, which involves engaging a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-licenced securities representative.”
“Given the uncertainty of travel restrictions, a green card is the best protection. If the freedom to travel, work and live anywhere in the US is what you look for, an EB-5 green card may be right 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 investment, where one can invest a minimum of $1 million (Rs 6.52 crore), start a business from scratch, and create 10 full-time jobs in the US. The second way is simpler and requires a one-time investment of $5 lakh (Rs 3.26 crore) in a government-approved EB-5 business that creates 10 or more full-time American jobs in the rural areas. What’s more, one also redeems the investment after five years.