To beat possible fee hike in Dec, rush seen for US EB-5 visa

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on October 02, 2018 Published on October 02, 2018

The prices of EB-5 visa are expected to double next year, as the Trump administration feels it is lower when compared with similar schemes of other countries   -  Getty Images/iStockphoto

A 20-25 per cent rise in applications likely as prices may double

The Trump administration’s decision to extend EB-5 visa deadline up to December 7, before deciding on a price hike, would result in a 20-25 per cent increase in the number of Indians applying for the scheme. India now ranks fourth (jointly with Brazil) in EB-5 filing, with about 500 applications filed in 2017.

On September 28, US President Donald Trump signed a Spending Bill, which extends the deadline for EB-5 visa — US’ investor-immigration programme — by nearly three months. The scheme, which was already under extension, was to expire on September 30.

“Here is an opportunity for investors to take advantage of one of the most fastest and reliable ways to get a green card. This is the only immigration programme under President Trump where the approval rates went up, even though the prices remained unchanged for the past 28 years,” Rogelio Caceres, Chief Commercial Officer and Co-founder at LCR Capital Partners, a US-based EB-5 regional centre, told BusinessLine.

“Indian investors are very savvy and well-educated, and they don’t want to pay a lot more for the same thing…. This extension, I believe, will result in a 20-25 per cent increase in applications this year,” Caceres added.

Prices to double

The prices of EB-5 visa are expected to double next year, as the Trump administration feels it is lower when compared with such schemes of other countries.

The EB-5 is an investor visa, with applicants required to invest a minimum $500,000 (plus $75,000 for processing) to migrate to the US. The proceeds are mainly invested across real estate, construction and other sectors to create jobs in the US. The money is returned to the investor after a certain period of time.

The investor, who gets a green card, can choose any kind of work in the US. A total of 10,000 EB-5 visas are issued every year with the limit capped at 700 per country. However, the approval rate for Indian applicants is 64 per cent as against the global rate of 92.4 per cent.

“This scheme was started in 1992, and of course half-a-million dollars fixed then would not be good in 2018, and one school of thought was to increase it. But then they are not getting enough investments other than from China. So the developers are worried if the bar is raised, then they will not get enough investments from other parts of the world,” Deepesh Deshmukh, EB-5 Investment Project Facilitator for India at New York Empire Outlets Fund I, said.

“This is good for both India and the US, as the extension would help in bringing in more people into the fold. However, it’s difficult to predict the increase in Indian applications,” Deshmukh added.

India to rise

India now is set to become the second-largest recipient of EB-5, with as much as 1,100 visas expected to be issued in 2019. This would also come at a time when the prices are expected to at least double, US Congressman Aaron Schock, who was also the Chief Sponsor of the ‘EB-5 Reauthorisation Bill 2012’, said.

In terms of applicants, India now ranks fourth, followed by China, Vietnam and South Korea. The number of Indians who filed for EB-5 was 86 in 2013, 99 in 2014, 239 in 2015, 348 in 2016 and 500 in 2017.

Published on October 02, 2018

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