1. Getting around H1B visa: Now, US firms target Indians with EB5 – the ‘Golden Visa’

Getting around H1B visa: Now, US firms target Indians with EB5 – the ‘Golden Visa’

As confusion looms over the future of the H1-B visa programme, an investment-facilitating firm is targeting rich Indians with the EB5 visa, popularly known as the "Golden Visa", that promises a faster route to US citizenship.

By: | Published: May 11, 2017 1:14 PM
USA, Visa, Golden visa, Donald Trump, H1-B, India, citizenship As confusion looms over the future of the H1-B visa programme, an investment-facilitating firm is targeting rich Indians with the EB5 visa, popularly known as the “Golden Visa”, that promises a faster route to US citizenship. (Image: AP)

As confusion looms over the future of the H1-B visa programme, an investment-facilitating firm is targeting rich Indians with the EB5 visa, popularly known as the “Golden Visa”, that promises a faster route to US citizenship. The US Immigration Fund (USIF), which launched its Indian operations this year, is confident that affluent Indians who invest half a million dollars or more in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) — creating 10 or more jobs — under the EB5 visa programme, will get US citizenship in a shorter time compared to the H1-B visa programme. US President Donald Trump has called for stricter norms for issuance of H1-B visas, largely availed of by Indian IT firms. A private member’s bill was also introduced earlier this year in the US Congress by Democrat Zoe Lofgren which seeks to increase the minimum salary of an H1-B visa holder to a whopping $130,000 from the current minimum of $60,000.

“With the H1-B environment becoming tougher and tougher, demand for EB5 has gone up,” Andrew Graves, USIF’s Director of Business Development in India, told IANS. “Indians are becoming more aware of the EB5 visa programme,” he said. Introduced by then US President Bill Clinton in 1990, the EB5 visa programme allows an individual to invest $500,000 in either of two TEAs — a high unemployment area in a US metropolis or a rural area outside of a metro — or $1 million in a non-TEA area that can create 10 or more jobs. Earlier this month, the US Congress extended the programme, which has seen much controversy over the merits of its applicants, till September 30 this year.

Graves explained that once an application is filed for an EB5 visa programme, the applicant has to fill in a I526 form under a US attorney after which he or she gets a temporary US Green Card for 16 months. Once the conditions are met, around two years later, the applicant has to fill in the I829 form which leads to lawful permanent residency in the US. “So, the EB5 offers a certain way for US citizenship within roughly five years,” Graves said. The USIF clams to have a proven track record of 100 per cent approval rating from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on all adjudicated projects.

It has 24 projects in the real estate sector to its credit with $3.2 billion in EB5 capital that includes 6,400 investors. China is the largest beneficiary of the EB5 visa programme, accounting for 75.6 per cent or over 7,500 visas. India is sixth in the list with 149 visas after Vietnam (334), South Korea (260), Taiwan (205) and Brazil (130). But Graves feels that Indians can make it to the second spot after China. “We are 100 per cent sure that India will occupy a strong second place after China,” he 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. The advantage: If an H1-B visa holder is fired from his or her job, he or she will have to leave the US along with family whereas once permanent residency is attained, he or she is no longer dependent on others for staying in the US as long as the person is law-abiding and renews the Green Card on time.

But how can a fresh Indian graduate in the US afford to invest a minimum of $500,000 to apply for an EB5 visa? “It usually comes as a gift from the family (to ensure the son or daughter’s future),” Graves said, indicating that only the more affluent Indians can afford the “Golden Visa”.

  1. S
    Skeptical US IT Exec
    May 14, 2017 at 6:10 pm
    Pretty misleading headline and article. The H1B and EB5 visas are totally different from each other. The H1B visa is in place to bring in "hard to get" skills to the US. It is there to provide employment opportunities but more importantly it is in place to allow US companies to bring over "skilled" labor. At least that is how it is written. The EB5 visa is meant to bring in investments to the US. It is called the "Golden Ticket" for a reason. If you are not well off already you will not have the MINIMUM $500,000 needed to make an investment into the US for the EB5. Also, if you have access to that kind of cash you are most likely not going to be looking for employment in the US. And if you are chances are good you will not use the H1B. The EB5 visa has been around for a few years now, while I don't agree with the Kushner's actions in China, I am wil to bet that all investment companies have used the "EB5 s Angle" when overseas and trying to attract foreign investments.
    Reply
    1. J
      John
      May 12, 2017 at 2:31 am
      The EB-5 program is the biggest fraud program in the history of the U.S. Everything in this article is false. You get the visa if you know who to pay off. Trump and his mutant family were sel the visas openly while they were in China.Senators and Congressmen have been caught taking the bribes. If you are wil tol ose everything, this is the program for you. If you know who will take your bribe you also may get through. If you are a normal person, chances are you and your money will soon be separated from each other. There are much better, less expensive ways to obtain permanent residency. In many cases it can be accomplished in less than 1 year, Trump is going after EB-5 visa holders in the U.S. because the regional centers and the personal investments are subject to massive fraud.
      Reply
      1. I
        ITProfessional
        May 11, 2017 at 4:17 pm
        How much they will charge to the "Platinum Visa" for their southern state citizens (Mexico etc) who come to USA without a visa and stay/work there indefinitely ?? Zero US should give greencards to all those who have worked in US legally for 6 yrs before rol out any other scheme
        Reply
        1. J
          jonathan swift
          May 13, 2017 at 12:49 am
          what right do you have? it is not a privilege. you were supposed to workf or only six years pack your bags and leave. be happy that your fraudulent company which lied on every aspect of your h-1b pe ion and you are not being sued and sent to jail. h-1b is a huge fraud and all h-1b holders should be made to leave usa immediately and come through regular immigration process. H-1b is bigger fraud than illegal migration.
          Reply
        2. T
          Tarini. Iyet
          May 11, 2017 at 2:34 pm
          How to justify to Single mothers who have given their all so the child can study in the US gain quality education & work to put to use his knowledge & to pay back all obligations.
          Reply
          1. I
            ITProfessional
            May 11, 2017 at 1:42 pm
            Who will be able to pay for EB5 visas as a replacement for H1B visas ?? Most of the Indian IT firms are unable to pay USD 130k as annual ry for H1B employees. Do you think they will pay USD $500,000 to get EB5 visas. Current Immigration schemes in US lack both the rational and the tact. With the current immigration policies in place, one may not be surprised if the entire USA becomes Mexico. The reason is while it has not done sufficient to prevent the illegal immigrants from Mexico pouring ans sustaining in USA, it has put enough obstacles to prevent the legally qualified workers from working in USA. It is ignoring people who have worked in US for 6 yrs on H1B. Give them greencard first and relocate them to USA.
            Reply
            1. I
              ITProfessional
              May 11, 2017 at 1:43 pm
              Who will be able to pay for EB5 visas as a replacement for H1B visas ?? Most of the Indian IT firms are unable to pay USD 130k as annual ry for H1B employees. Do you think they will pay USD $500,000 to get EB5 visas. Current Immigration schemes in US lack both the rational and the tact. With the current immigration policies in place, one may not be surprised if the entire USA becomes Mexico. The reason is while it has not done sufficient to prevent the illegal immigrants from Mexico pouring ans sustaining in USA, it has put enough obstacles to prevent the legally qualified workers from working in USA. It is ignoring people who have worked in US for 6 yrs on H1B. Give them greencard first and relocate them to USA.
              Reply
              1. J
                jonathan swift
                May 13, 2017 at 12:50 am
                These h-1b companies lies on lca. they mention ry as 60,000 to 120k but only pay 60k oreven less. time to cancel all h-1b and send them back home.
                1. J
                  jonathan swift
                  May 13, 2017 at 12:53 am
                  What right do you have, to ask for greencards. Inspite of all the fraud you adn your company has committed , by lying on lca,h-1b pe ion etc. avoiding taxes, hiring you as cheap labor for replacing american workeres, stea valuable data of us customers and looting them.You be happy that you are being allowed to get backto your home with all your loot instead of being sent to jail and then deported back home only withyour pants and shirt on.
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