A large number of Indians are queuing up to put their money into American business through the EB-5 investor visa that comes with assured migration and quicker acquiring of the Green Card. The number of high-net-worth individuals, corporate executives, and businessmen who seek the EB-5 has shot up in the past four years or so and crossed 500 in 2017.
Mark Davies, chairman and managing attorney of immigration law firm Davies and Associates in New York City, has told TOI: “The EB-5 market awareness across India has exploded over the last couple of years. Two years ago, most people were unaware of the existence of the EB-5 programme. However, now the number of applications has increased enormously.”
The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) estimates that more than 60% of Indian applicants for EB-5 choose to invest in real-estate projects. Investors from particular regions in India are also more interested in setting up restaurant franchises and hospitality industry in the USA. Abhinav Lohia, CanAm Enterprises vice-president for India and Middle East, told TOI during his visit to Chandigarh: “The US has the EB-5 visa programme since 1990. For more than 25 years, the minimum amount of investment has remained $500,000 (Rs 3.21 crore). Since 2015, there have been many proposals to increase this limit to $800,000 (Rs 5.14 crore), $925,000 (Rs 5.94 crore) and $1,300,000 (Rs 8.35 crore).
“Immigration is a top priority for the current administration and, in my opinion, a decision to increase the investment amount is inevitable. Any increase in the amount will have an adverse effect on the number of applications being filed out of India. The Indian market will be impacted severely if the investment amount goes up to a million or higher,” Lohia says.
He adds: “The number of EB-5 visa applications from Punjab is on the rise. Recently, we have seen a growing interest in the state (for investing in the US). We had more than 15 investors from Chandigarh well before the December 8 deadline.”
India to go past Vietnam?
India is third largest market of EB-5 visa after China and Vietnam. With the number of applicants only increasing, the country might become second largest EB-5 market in the world. Its growth potential is analysed to be unlimited.
There are two ways of getting your EB-5—either through direct investment (starting a business in America) or through investing in a government-approved regional center. If you take the regional center route, money is loaned to a project and repaid in five to seven years. The investment amount is 5 million US dollars (Rs 32.13 crore) in targeted employment areas and $1 million (Rs 6.42 crore) in a non-targeted employment area. A targeted employment area is an area of high unemployment in a rural area. In both cases, the investor needs to create 10 American jobs.
Investors Interested in USA EB-5 Program (also popularly known as USA Green Card, USA Investment Visa, EB-5 Regional Center program) can contact us at [email protected] or call on +91 807 313 3096 for more details. The investment amount is $500,000 and is generally refunded back after 5 years.