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  • Writer's pictureRathee Law Firm

EB-5 IMMIGRANT INVESTOR PROGRAM: THE FAST-TRACK TO THE AMERICAN DREAM FOR INDIANS


UNDERSTANDING THE EB-5 IMMIGRANT INVESTOR PROGRAM


For the Indian diaspora who are aspiring to secure permanent residency in the United States, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program may offer an accelerated and assured route to achieving this objective. This program bypasses the usual extensive wait times, sponsorship complications, and restrictive visa quotas, thus presenting a unique opportunity for those who are financially equipped to make substantial investments in the US economy.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was instituted by the US Congress in 1990, as an initiative to invigorate the US economy by facilitating job creation and endorsing capital investments by overseas investors. The program allows foreign investors, along with their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, to apply for lawful permanent residence, thereby becoming green card holders.


ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR THE EB-5 PROGRAM


The two primary criteria for eligibility include: making the requisite investment in a commercial enterprise in the US and creating or preserving 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers. The investment threshold is set at $1.05 million, which is reduced to $800,000 if the project is situated in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) - a rural or high-unemployment zone. This investment may either be directly injected into a new business or indirectly via a regional center. The latter is an entity sanctioned by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to aggregate funds from several investors and channel them into commercial ventures.


The EB-5 program is subject to an annual limit of 10,000 visas, with 3,000 each reserved for TEA projects and regional center projects. The remaining 4,000 visas are allocated for any other project category.


WHY IS THE EB-5 PROGRAM ATTRACTIVE FOR THE INDIAN DIASPORA?


For the Indian diaspora, the EB-5 program is an attractive proposition for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it provides a fast and assured path to acquiring a green card, typically within 18 to 24 months of filing their petitions, without the specter of political rhetoric or public sentiment affecting their immigration status.


The program offers unparalleled flexibility, granting EB-5 investors complete autonomy to reside, work, travel, study, or retire anywhere across the US. There is no obligation for employer or family sponsorship, nor any prerequisites in terms of education, language proficiency, or business experience. The EB-5 program also allows applicants to select from an array of investment options that align with their personal objectives and preferences.


FAMILY BENEFITS AND THE ROAD TO US CITIZENSHIP THROUGH EB-5


The EB-5 program is advantageous for the investors' families as well. Investors can include their spouses and unmarried children under 21 in their applications, enabling the entire family to secure green cards together. This provision allows their children to avail lower tuition fees, a broader spectrum of scholarship opportunities, and easier access to employment compared to foreign students. Spouses have the liberty to work or establish their own businesses without any constraints.


Moreover, the EB-5 program serves as a gateway to US citizenship. Investors can apply for US citizenship post five years of permanent residency, contingent upon eligibility requirements. Simultaneously, they can maintain their Indian identity by applying for Overseas Citizen of India status.


THE GROWING POPULARITY OF THE EB-5 PROGRAM AMONG INDIANS: A STATISTICAL INSIGHT


The EB-5 program's popularity among the Indian diaspora has seen an exponential rise in recent years, as indicated by several statistical trends. According to USCIS data, India ranked second globally in terms of EB-5 visa approvals in the fiscal year 2020, with 1,188 visas issued. This marked a stark increase from the 174 visas issued in the fiscal year 2016.


As per IIUSA data, India accounted for 22% of all EB-5 investments in the fiscal year 2020, with $264 million invested, up from 1% of all EB-5 investments and $15 million invested in fiscal year 2016. Hurun Report data also reveals that India ranked fourth globally in terms of EB-5 applications filed in fiscal year 2020, with a total of 1,350 applications submitted. This reflects a substantial escalation from the 99 applications filed in fiscal year 2016. These statistics underscore the escalating demand for the EB-5 program within the Indian diaspora, driven by various socio-economic factors. These range from an increasing number of high-net-worth individuals and prosperous families in India with the financial resources and inclination to invest overseas, to the growing ambitions of young professionals and students eager to seek higher education and career opportunities in the United States.


The burgeoning interest in the EB-5 program can also be attributed to the emergence and accessibility of credible and reputable EB-5 service providers. These entities, which encompass regional centers, immigration attorneys, consultants, agents, and financial advisors, offer comprehensive guidance and support to Indian investors throughout the application process.


CONCLUSION: THE EB-5 PROGRAM AND THE PURSUIT OF THE AMERICAN DREAM


In conclusion, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program represents a lucrative avenue for the Indian diaspora aspiring to establish their residence in the United States and reap the multifaceted benefits of permanent residency and eventual citizenship. The program offers a swift, guaranteed, adaptable, and convenient means to inject capital into the US economy and contribute to job creation for American workers.


Moreover, it presents a beneficial proposition for their families, particularly their children who can leverage quality educational and career opportunities in the United States. The EB-5 program has been witnessing a surge in popularity among the Indian community in recent years, as substantiated by the escalating figures pertaining to visa approvals, investments, and applications. Consequently, the EB-5 program has become a compelling choice for Indians possessing the financial wherewithal and ambition to invest overseas and actualize their American aspirations.

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