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Indian Investors choosing EB-5 Visa over H-1B for U.S. Residency

EB-5 visa applications soar in response to continual H-1B administration changes.

Earlier this year U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated immigration policies, impacting the H1-B visa program severely. As H-1B policy change becomes stricter, making H-1B increasingly unattainable – applications for EB-5 visas are surging and continuing to attract more candidates from India. Below, we’ve detailed the various requirements and differences between EB-5 and H-1B.

EB-5 Visa Program Overview: EB-5 is a United States visa program that stimulates employment in the United States by enabling foreign investors to apply for a Green Card and invest in a U.S. business. The investor can invest in one of three ways:

✔ Directly invest $1,000,000 and create 10 new direct jobs anywhere in the U.S.

✔ Invest $500,000 and create 10 new direct jobs in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA – which is an area that has an unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the national average).

✔ Invest $500,000 and create 10 new direct or indirect jobs in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) through a USCIS regional center.

EB-5 Regional Center Investment Requirements: A regional center, such as U.S. Immigration Fund(USIF), is designated by USCIS to sponsor EB-5 projects for EB-5 investors.

✔ Make a minimum investment of $500,000 USD in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA).

✔ Detailed evidence outlining the legitimacy of investment funds.

✔ Background check to assure the investor does not have a criminal record/has not broken any U.S. laws.

Investing through an EB-5 regional center has several advantages over a direct EB-5 investment. For example, one substantial advantage is that USIF EB-5 investors can count direct, indirect and induced jobs towards the required 10 jobs, making it a safer option than a direct EB-5 investment. For a direct EB-5 investment, the investor would be responsible for creating 10 jobs directly, and would not be able to count indirect or induced jobs, among other restrictions.

EB-5 Visa Benefits and Advantages

✔ No education, special skills or employment history required.

✔ Flexibility to work anywhere, or for anyone in the U.S.

✔ Spouse and unmarried children under 21 can receive green cards without separate applications.

✔ Freedom to live, work and go to school anywhere in the U.S., regardless of investment location.

✔ One of the fastest routes to U.S. permanent residency.

✔ Currently no waiting list, except for China.

H-1B Visa Program Overview: H-1B has historically been a popular visa choice for professionals specifically from India, and IT/tech companies in the United States have relied on the program to hire thousands of employees each year. The current administration’s recent restrictions on the H-1B visa has forced many citizens of India to now rely on EB-5 to obtain their green card.

H-1B Visa Requirements

 No education, special skills or employment history required.

✔ Flexibility to work anywhere, or for anyone in the U.S.

✔ Spouse and unmarried children under 21 can receive green cards without separate applications.

✔ Freedom to live, work and go to school anywhere in the U.S., regardless of investment location.

✔ One of the fastest routes to U.S. permanent residency.

✔ Currently no waiting list, except for China.

H-1B Conditions & Restrictions

USCIS does not recognize 3-year bachelor degree programs.

H-1B visas last for 3 years and renewable for a maximum of 6 years.

Family members require separate visas (H-4) at an additional cost, and spouses are rarely employed on an H-4.

Employer is not guaranteed to sponsor employee for a Green Card after the 6-year period.

U.S. Employer dictates where the investor should live and work.

Unfortunately, within 5 days USCIS began accepting H-1B petitions for FY2019, they received more petitions than the entire 2019 H-1B cap allows. Further, federal decision-making halted premium processing for H-1B petitions – this suspension is expected to last until end of September, 2018. Luckily, current H-1B visa holders are eligible to apply for an EB-5 visa while working in the U.S. through an ‘Adjustment of Status’. This is simply the procedure that permits eligible applicants to apply for EB-5 without returning to their country of origin.
Contact us if you want to learn more, and see if you are eligible to apply for EB-5, contact us before possible September 30th deadline.   
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