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22 Aug 2019, Edition - 1500, Thursday

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EB-5 Skyrockets in India as H1-B Under New Threat: US Freedom Capital

Covai Post Network

US Freedom Capital, among India’s leading EB-5 investment consulting firms today said that it expects the process completion time (from application to receipt of Green Card) to increase from 2 years to over 5 years for new applicants if they apply around July 2019 under the EB-5 Visa scheme. India has also witnessed a staggering increase in applications for I-526 petitions. Since FY2008 the number of EB-5 investors from India has jumped 1,405%.

 

Ankit Bhandari

 

It is expected at this rate, the number of EB-5 visas actually issued could hit the annual cap of 700 by July 2019 – or in other words the maximum number allowed per year, leading to much higher waiting time for newer applicants.

 

The great American Dream is being chased by many more Indians than ever in the past two decades, as indicated by the USCIS numbers. Since the inception of the EB‐5 Immigrant Investor Visa in FY1992, nearly 1,860 Indian investors have submitted their I‐526 petition to USCIS and invested in a variety of EB‐5 projects across the United States, contributing over $742 million in foreign direct investment to the U.S. economy. In FY2017 alone, IIUSA estimates that approximately $235 million EB‐5 funding was generated by the investors from India, a 66% growth from FY2016,” said Ankit Bhandari, VP – Investments, US Freedom Capital.

 

Earlier H-1B Visas were the priority route but with the tightening of norms by the US Government in the recent years, EB-5 has now started to gain favor with the investors. On December 3rd, 2018, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed regulatory amendments around H-1B petitions. These amendments intend to put in place greater favorability in H-1B selection towards U.S. master’s degree holders, who are described as “more meritorious” than other beneficiaries. Under the proposed reform, internet-based electronic registration would be mandatory for all petitioners filing for H-1B on behalf of their employees. Petitioners would be given a specified window to register the details of each candidate, which would then be added to a pool of randomly selected candidates from a computer-generated program.

 

Although the proposed changes are the Trump administration’s first attempt to enact regulatory reforms to H-1B, the program has been under threat since April 2017. In a recent report from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) it was shown that the number of H-1B petitions denied for Indian-born professionals spiked from 16.6% to 23.6% from the 3rd to the 4th quarter of the FY 2017- a 42% increase in the span of three months.

 

Unlike H-1B, EB-5 does not depend on employer sponsorship nor on a lottery system. Rather, through this program, investors are eligible to apply for a green card and maintain the freedom as well as flexibility to live and work anywhere in the U.S. The EB-5 Investor Visa requires an individual to invest US $500,000 (approximately INR 3.4 crores) in a commercial enterprise in the USA to gain green card for their family, including all unmarried children under 21.

 

According to MrBhandari, “There has been a serious growth trend in applications for I-526 petitions in the last three years. What’s worrisome, however, is that many of these petitions are pending, meaning that the wait time for approval is increasing exponentially. As of October 2018, this number was at 1,633 for Indians alone. As a firm, we have already seen an outpour of interest by clients looking to pursue EB-5 for themselves and their family. At this rate, it would be unwise to risk long waiting times and long application queues. At the same time, it is important to ensure the safety of funds invested and their compliance to the US EB-5 rules for the investors seeking Green Card. This is where the need to have a reliable partner, with a reputation, matters”.

 

 

Foreign State of Chargeability

2012-2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total

Brazil

0

1

31

39

121

115

307

China-mainland born

60

109

710

2444

3621

1236

8180

India

1

3

14

136

627

852

1633

South Korea

1

0

6

34

135

293

469

China-Taiwan born

0

0

7

49

164

165

385

Vietnam

0

1

22

177

516

480

1196

Rest of the World

12

33

161

306

835

776

2123

 

Data Sources: USCIS

Prepared by IIUSA

 

The above figures under each year depict the number of I-526 petitions still pending from that specific year as of October 2018.

 

About US Freedom Capital

US Freedom Capital is a boutique investment firm headquartered in Dallas, Texas with the Indian head office in Mumbai. The firm is focused on providing diversified dollar denominated structured investment opportunities to global investors to earn stable, predictable returns as well as gain US Green Card through the EB-5 Visa Program, keeping in mind the safety of principal investments.

 

The team consists of the three former highest-ranking officials at US immigration (USCIS), and the professionals at US Freedom Capital have over $3 billion commercial real estate experience with decades of investment experience. Built on a reputation of commitment and trust, US Freedom Capital has a 100% success rate in EB-5 green card approvals.

Source: Newsvior

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