After the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it is eyeing to bring out major changes to the country’s H1B visa policy by January 2019, it now seems obtaining an EB-5 visa, which is seen as the most popular alternative to the H1B visa, is also going to get tougher for Indians.
The EB-5 is an investor visa for which applicants are required to invest a minimum of $500,000 (plus $75,000 for processing) to migrate to the US and create at least 10 full-time jobs in the country. It is considered as a sure shot ticket to getting US Green Card. The proceeds are mainly invested in the field of real estate, construction and other sectors to create jobs in the US. The investor gets the money back after a certain period of time.
As part of the EB-5 investor visa programme, the government allocates up to 10,000 visas annually to foreign nationals, with a per country cap of 7 percent. China, Vietnam, and India are among the top three countries in order to file for EB-5 visa applications.
According to data obtained from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are over 1200 Indian EB-5 applicants in the queue as of October 2018. As the EB-5 cap for India is 700, it could take two years or more to complete the backlog.
“As the country cap in EB-5 is 700 for each including India, it could take two years or a bit more to complete this backlog,” said Ashish Saraff, Managing Director, South Asia, and the Middle East, AVG America Investments LLC. “There are no alternatives as far as the US is concerned. We believe the backlog could be as high as five years by end of next year. China now has a backlog of over 15 years.”
The Donald Trump government is also currently reviewing EB-5 visa policy as it plans to increase the investment amount up from USD 500,000 to close to USD 1 million next year.