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Indians are fifth largest investors in the program: US official

NEW DELHI | March 1

[caption id="attachment_25502" align="aligncenter" width="660"]USIF-EB5-India More takers The number of USIF Indian investors under the visa program quadrupled from 2016 to 2017 - Getty Images/iStockphoto[/caption]

The EB-5 Visa Program could be a good alternative for Indians wishing to migrate to the US, especially at a time when H1-B Visa rules are being tightened.

“The current administration isn’t against immigration, they are against illegal immigration. And they want to make the entire visa system more of a merit based system as opposed to a lottery. The EB-5 Visa is merit based as people are sacrificing something to get their green card,” said Andrew Graves, Director, Business Development, US Immigration Fund (USIF).

The EB-5 Program was created by the US Congress in 1990 and allows high net worth foreign investors to get a US visa for the investor and their immediate family through an investment of about $5,00,000 in a US business that will benefit the economy by creating a minimum of 10 permanent US jobs. Graves, who heads the India operations of USIF, said at present Indians are the fifth largest investors in the program but given the demographic size, they can turn into the second largest group in a few years.

“If you look at the demographics of India, it is an extremely large country and has lots of wealth. It has the second largest immigrant group to the US behind Mexico. The second largest international student base to the US is also from India,” he told BusinessLine, adding that most applicants use EB-5 for their children’s education in the US.

In 2017, there were only 307 applications under the EB-5 Visa from India as compared to 26,725 applications from those born in mainland China.

The number of USIF Indian investors quadrupled from 2016 to 2017 and Graves expressed confidence that it will increase further in 2018.

Graves however, said that changes are expected in the EB-5 Visa Program too. The US Congress may hike the minimum investment amount for EB-5 from $500,000 to close to $1 million and from $1 million to $1.8 million per applicant respectively.

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | NAVEENA GHANATE | Mar 1, 2018 us-immigration-fund-eb5-visa Due to speculation over the increase in minimum investments for EB-5 (employment-based fifth preference) Immigrant Investor Visa, the US Immigration Fund (USIF) is receiving many more applications for this visa type. An EB5 visa is issued to foreign investors investing in the US economy, i.e. a person who wants to start a business or wants to invest money in a US government approved project can apply for it. According to this visa programme, a person who invests $1 million in the US will be given a conditional green card. If the person is investing in a targeted employment area (TEA), in the US, then the minimum investment amount is $500,000. TEA is generally a rural area or region with high unemployment in the US. If the applicant can create 10 jobs for US citizens, then he/she will be able to get a permanent green card for their immediate family. EB-5 is considered a superior option to work, stay and become a US citizen quickly. The speculation is that Congress may hike the minimum investment amount from $500,000 to close to $1 million for TEA and from $1 million to $1.8 million for other areas, per applicant. According to USCIS data, Indian EB-5 visa applicants have increased consistently in recent years with 174 petitions filed in 2017, a 57 per cent increase from 2015. About 10,000 such visas are issued every year. The number of USIF Indian investors quadrupled from 2016 to 2017.  Andrew Graves, the head of USIF’s India operations said, “We expect that the number of investors in 2018 will increase to more than 200, assuming the minimum investment amount remains at $500,000. Should the minimum investment amount increase, a portion of the potential investors could be priced out. A change in the overall EB-5 market is inevitable if investment level does go up.” The EB-5 Program is expected to see significant legislative changes by March 23, 2018. So now is the time to invest at the lower investment amount. USIF is one of America’s leading EB-5 Regional Centre operators and holds the exclusive rights for raising and investing EB-5 capital for several large-scale residential and commercial real estate projects. USIF’s 24 EB-5 projects will generate roughly 18,000 EB-5 green cards arising from 6,000 investors and their families. The current waiting list for Indians for typical visa programmes like H1B, L1, EB 1A/B/C, EB-2, and EB-3 has grown to 10 years or more. There is currently no waiting list for EB-5 investors from India. Shan Chopra, partner at USIF and managing partner of The Chopras Group, said, “We’ve witnessed growing interest from families wanting to expand their business operations into the US or for their children to have greater freedom and mobility in their professional lives without having to rely on an employer to sponsor them. We’ve seen over 3,000 enquiries since we started and over 600-plus meetings via seminars and one-on-one interactions in the last five months.”  
HFZ Capital Group, a partner of U.S. Immigration Fund, made The Real Deal Magazine’s top ten list of developers in Manhattan by square footage. At the number nine spot, HFZ and U.S. Immigration Fund's project, 76 Eleventh Ave, consisting of two twisting towers, will span 764,332 square feet.   By Kathryn Brenzel | Research by Adam Pincus | February 19, 2018 [caption id="attachment_25125" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Clockwise from left: 30 Hudson Yards, Central Park Tower, Gary Barnett, Bruce Flatt, Stephen Ross and One Manhattan West[/caption] One look at the Far West Side in Manhattan, and it’s pretty clear which developers are the city’s most active. Related Companies and Brookfield Property Partners are respectively the top two most active developers in Manhattan, according to an analysis by The Real Deal. Related is working on 9 million square feet of development, most of which is at Hudson Yards, while Brookfield is handling 3.8 million square feet nearby at Manhattan West. TRD compiled a list of new buildings and major renovations filed with the city’s Department of Buildings since 2005 that have not yet been issued a temporary certificate of occupancy or, if a condo building, declared effective as of mid-January 2018. Here are the top 10 developers by square footage:   1) Related Companies | 9 million sf The largest of Related’s active projects is 30 Hudson Yards, an office tower that’s expected to rise nearly 1,300 feet high and span 3.1 million square feet. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of Related’s construction attention is focused on Hudson Yards, where five active projects will span 8.3 million square feet. Nearby, on the High Line, the developer plans to build a 181-unit condo tower. The project, at 515 West 18th Street, is slated to span 343,051 square feet. 2) Brookfield Property Partners | 3.8 million sf Brookfield’s One and Two Manhattan West office towers will respectively span 2 million square feet and 1.7 million square feet. The company’s developing a much smaller retail building nearby that will be 26,841 square feet. In a statement, the company’s chairman, Ric Clark, noted that 1.75 million square feet has been leased at One Manhattan West, meaning that it’s 84 percent occupied. 3) Extell Development | 3.44 million sf When completed, Extell’s Central Park Tower at 217 West 57th Street will be the city’s tallest residential building at 1,775 feet high. The supertall is expected to be 1.2 million square feet. Though shorter, One Manhattan Square also clocks in at around 1.2 million square feet, according to the DOB. Central Park Tower is also the most expensive condominium project in U.S. history, with a targeted sellout of $4 billion. 4) Silverstein Properties | 3.4 million sf Silverstein only has two projects under construction: 3 World Trade Center, which will span 2.8 million square feet, and 520 West 41st Street, which will be 609,945 square feet. The company is still waiting on an anchor tenant for 2 World Trade Center, a planned 2.8 million-square-foot office tower that will be designed by Bjarke Ingels. In September, the New York Post reported that Deutsche Bank was looking at the tower, as well as 50 Hudson Yards and the Time Warner Center, as a potential new location for its Manhattan headquarters. 5) Moinian Group | 2.6 million sf Moinian’s largest ongoing project is 3 Hudson Boulevard, a 53-story, 1.8 million- square-foot office tower on Manhattan’s Far West Side. The developer is trying to raise between $250 million and $350 million in EB-5 funding for the project, which is expected to cost more than $2 billion. The tower still doesn’t have an anchor tenant. 6) Tishman Speyer | 2.2 million sf The Bjarke Ingels-designed office building at 509 West 34th Street, dubbed “the Spiral,” is expected to span 2.2 million square feet. The project is the only new building that Tishman Speyer is currently working on that hasn’t yet been issued a TCO. Pfizer agreed in August to take 800,000 square feet and become the building’s anchor tenant. 7) Anbang Insurance Group | 1.63 million sf Earlier this week, the CEO of Hilton Worldwide Holdings announced that despite reports that Anbang is selling off its assets, the Waldorf Astoria isn’t one of them. The Chinese firm closed the Waldorf last year, to begin converting the storied hotel into 409 condo units. 8) General Investment & Development Cos. | 1.61 million sf GID is working on three residential projects, all of which are part of the developer’s massive Waterline Square development on the Upper West Side. The largest of the towers is Two Waterline Square at 400 West 61st Street, which will be 880, 994 square feet. 9) HFZ Capital Group | 1.5 million sf Another Bjarke Ingels-designed building is among the largest currently under construction. HFZ’s 76 Eleventh Avenue, known as the Eleventh, will feature two towers — 25 and 35 stories — that appear to be twisting away from each other, as if frozen in the middle of a dance. The project will span 764,332 square feet. 10) Chetrit Group | 1.47 million sf Chetrit is working on five buildings, the largest of which is a 380,341-square-foot residential building at 209 East 19th Street that will be part of the four-building development known as Gramercy Square. The second-largest is a condo building also planned for the development at 228 East 20th Street, which will be 375,107 square feet. The third-largest is a 46-story, hotel and residential building planned for 545 West 37th Street. That project is expected to be 373,275 square feet.