Policy

EB-5 visas: expensive but preferred route to US

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on January 27, 2018

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The demand for EB-5 visas is surging, riding mostly on the fabled American dream of equal opportunity for prosperity and success. The number of Indians applying for the EB-5 programme is expected to more than double to 300 this year.

The EB-5 is an investor visa, wherein applicants have to invest minimum $5,00,000 to migrate to the US. The proceeds are mainly invested in real estate, construction and other sectors to create jobs, with a mezzanine debt raised under the EB-5 project and then provided to the developer with a four-year term and two one-year extensions.

The money is returned then after the period to the investor. The investor, who gets a green card, can choose any kind of work to do.

“If you look at the demographics of India, with 1.3 billion 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. People are looking for a proper path to immigrate to the US and EB-5 is a certain path for that,” said Andrew R. Graves, director of business development and head of India at US Immigration Fund (USIF).

USIF is the largest EB-5 fund raiser in the world, having funded 24 projects worth $15 billion in development and $3.2 billion in EB-5 funds through 6,400 investors.

“The US government is not against legal immigration, but only against illegal immigration,” he said, adding that 149 Indians used this programme last year.

USIF, which already has an office in Mumbai, is looking to open another in New Delhi “shortly”.

In 2016, China (people born in mainland) topped the list, followed by Vietnam, South Korea, China (Taiwan born) and Brazil. India ranked sixth with 1.5 per cent of the total number people who availed themselves of the scheme.

EB-5 has been in existence since 1990 and has enjoyed many extensions. On April 30, the US Congress extended it by another six months to September 30, with an intention to revisit it then.

Published on May 10, 2017

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