Note: While this post focuses on foreign nationals from India, all of the immigration options discussed here can apply to foreign nationals of any country except for those born in Mainland China.
Out-of-country investors seeking permanent residency can breathe a sigh of relief if they have not yet started their visa process. The EB-5 Investment Visa program was set to expire on September 30, 2017, but was granted an extension through December 8, 2017. This program allows qualified foreign investors to obtain their green cards within approximately two years, if they carefully follow the EB-5 program requirements. Indian immigrants make up a significantly-growing portion of EB-5 Visa applicants, and the EB-5 Visa is a good choice for them. This is especially true now that all slots for H-1B Visas (a very popular immigration option for Indian nationals) have been filled for the 2018 fiscal year.
H-1B Visa Program Slots Filled
The H-1B Visa is a popular choice for immigrants from many countries, but it is particularly utilized by Indians and Chinese working in the IT sector for U.S. companies. However, the available slots for H-1B Visas fill up fast through the lottery system. Once those chances are gone, the next best option for many Indian nationals is to apply through the EB-5 Visa Program. In fact, since the H-1B Visa depends upon continued job placement with the sponsoring employer, the EB-5 Visa is seen as a more stable, albeit more costly, path to residency.
EB-5 Visa Program Extended
H.R. 601, the “Continuing Appropriation Act,” has extended the EB-5 Visa for qualified immigrant investors. This extension ends on December 8th of this year, which means we will likely see an influx of applications for the program within the next two months. Indian students who have studied in the U.S. but were unable to obtain a visa through their employer might be able to qualify for residency under the EB-5 Visa Program. However, they must act quickly with the help of an experienced EB-5 Visa attorney – and, most likely, with the help of their parents in putting together the $500,000 minimum investment.
Changing Guidelines are Coming
For Indians and others with access to the capital to take advantage of the EB-5 Visa Program, the time is now. Not only is the December 8, 2017 cut-off approaching, but there is a strong probability that changes are coming to the program sooner rather than later. Guidelines on various visa programs may change as soon as late 2017 or early 2018. One proposed change, to increase the minimum investment amount in the EB-5 Visa Program to $800,000 (and as high as $1.8 million US for projects located in areas that don’t qualify for a lower investment amount), would be particularly hard on Indian students turning to EB-5 only after having been declined in the pool for H-1B Visas. And H-1B Visas may undergo a change in guidelines as well, with one proposed bill aiming to more than double the minimum salary requirements for American companies employing immigrants through the program.
To learn more about your business immigration solutions, contact the experienced immigration attorneys at David Hirson & Partners, LLP today.