India maxes out US’ EB-5 investor-visa limit

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on June 26, 2019

India has reached retrogression for its investor visa EB-5, with the country utilising the existing cap of 700 visas offered by the US government to every country for the US fiscal year 2018 (October-September).

This comes amidst tight scrutiny over H-1B and H4 (dependent visa) and the ongoing trade war between the two countries.

Visa retrogression

Visa retrogression occurs when the demand for a particular immigrant visa for a nation exceeds its availability.

India is the third country after mainland China and Vietnam to have reached the limit of the quota, according to the US Visa bulletin for July 2019.

“For the first time in the history of this programme, India has reached the quota’s limit. The demand from India came from Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad as Indians know the value of green card, there are many Indian-Americans already in the US excelling in multiple domains such as technology, medicine, engineering and business among others,” Rogelio Caceres, Chief Commercial Officer and Co-Founder at US-based LCR Capital Partners said. The EB-5 is an investor visa, wherein applicants have to invest a minimum $5,00,000 (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.

Longer waiting period

“Indians face a longer waiting period for the EB-5 visa. From existing 2-3 years, India born nationals may face an additional waiting period of 4-5 years due to retrogression or visa backlog, which means a total 6-8-year wait for a green card,” Vivek Tandon, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at EB-5 BRICS, an EB-5 visa consultancy firm, said.

Better education and career prospects for children is an important reason why Indians opt for the EB-5 visa.

“The additional delay due to retrogression is not covered under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). Thus, Indians will have to either apply when the child is young or plan for a separate EB-5 investment for children who may age out,” he added.

An EB-5 visa holder, 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.

Published on June 26, 2019

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