New Delhi: At a time when H-1B visa rules are being tightened + , there is growing interest in the EB-5 visa program. The number of EB-5 visas issued to Indians touched a record 174 between October 2016 and 2017, up from 149 in the corresponding year-ago period.
Under the EB-5 visa programme, also dubbed as ‘cash for visa’, individuals can apply for lawful permanent residence in the United States (this is not citizenship) for themselves, their spouse and children below 21 years, if they make the necessary investments and create at least 10 permanent full time jobs for US workers. The current minimum threshold investment limit is US$ 1 million (which translates to Rs 6.5 crore).
A reduced investment of $500,000 is permitted for business operations in specified rural areas or those with higher unemployment limits – known as target employment areas (TEAs). Mark Davies, chairman and managing attorney of Davies and Associates, “Two years back, most people were not aware of the existence of the EB-5 program. However, now the awareness has skyrocketed, and therefore, the number of applications has increased enormously.”