With the Trump administration moving towards closing the doors for immigration through the H-1B and L1 visa route, rich Indians are flocking to the EB-5 visa programme to obtain the coveted US Green Card.

The Immigrant Visa Program, commonly known as the EB-5 visa, is meant for high net-worth investors to earn the Green Card and permanent residency for themselves and their immediate family through a one-time investment of $500,000 into a new US business that creates 10 or more American jobs.

“Heightened awareness of the EB-5 program and the fact that there are not many other avenues available for Indian nationals to obtain their US Green Cards have contributed to the increase of EB-5 filings this year,” Jose Latour, Esq. President and Managing Director, American Venture Solutions (AVS), a Miami-based investment immigration firm, told BusinessLine .

EB-5 filings have already seen a record spike this year and India is currently the fourth largest market for EB-5 in the world.

Tightening H-1B norms

The proposed hike in salary to $130,000 from $60,000, which is under consideration by the US government in the H1-B Reform Bill, would also make the H-1B programme inaccessible for most Indian students graduating in the US. As a result, they are opting for the EB-5 programme for long-term employment opportunities.

“As the new Trump Administration considers a new legislation that could restrict traditional immigration options such as the H-1B and L1 visa programs, Indian HNIs are increasingly getting attracted to the EB-5 program. Our clients are attracted to the reliability and timeliness of the EB-5 program as well as the broad bi-partisan support the program has amongst both political parties,” said Rogelio Caceres, Co-Founder and CMO of US-based private investment firm LCR Capital Partners, which supports EB-5 programme.

Meanwhile, it seems that the US government is planning to terminate the EB-5 programme also completely by the end of April. However, it has also floated a discussion document suggesting that the mandatory $500,000 investment under the programme be increased to $1,300,000, in case the program is not terminated.

But, according to some of investment immigration firms, the Trump administration will not discontinue the EB-5 visa programme. It will continue albeit with certain key changes. “EB-5 will continue, with whatever changes are invoked. That new regulations may well be in place even before the current April termination of the pilot program extension,” added Latour of AVS.

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