The increased difficulty in obtaining and retaining H-1B visas has prompted Indian IT professionals to begin to explore other options. According to data gathered by Layoffs.fyi, the count of tech workers who have been laid off has exceeded 180,000 since November 2022.
In the ever-evolving world of immigration policy, the EB-5 visa has emerged as a beacon of hope, promising stability, flexibility, and choice to many Indian Information Technology (IT) professionals in the United States. For these individuals, the EB-5 visa isn’t just a ticket to an improved lifestyle, but a solid foundation that supports their long-term career aspirations and personal growth in America.
The EB-5 visa program, officially known as the Employment-Based Fifth Preference Immigrant Investor Program, was created by the U.S. Congress in 1990. It provides a method for eligible immigrant investors to become lawful permanent residents—green card holders—by investing at least $800,000 USD in a new commercial enterprise that creates or preserves 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
The primary advantage that the EB-5 visa offers Indian IT professionals is stability. Typically, most Indian IT professionals in the United States enter the country on H-1B work visas. However, the H-1B visa is limited by strict regulations, such as the need for employer sponsorship and caps on annual issuances. The EB-5 visa, on the other hand, is free of these restrictions and provides more certainty.
The EB-5 visa allows its holder to live and work anywhere in the U.S., not tied to a specific employer or location. The investor, their spouse, and their unmarried children under 21 can all obtain green cards, granting them permanent residence in the U.S. This allows families to establish deep roots in their communities, providing a stable environment for career growth and family life.
The EB-5 visa program ultimately provides a pathway to U.S. citizenship, which is highly attractive to Indian IT professionals seeking long-term stability and growth prospects. After five years of maintaining lawful permanent residency, they are eligible to apply for naturalization, granting them full citizenship rights and the option to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.
Along with increased security, the EB-5 visa program also broadens the spectrum of choices available to Indian IT professionals. It offers them the freedom to switch jobs, start a business, or even retire without impacting their immigration status. It also opens doors to educational opportunities, enabling the visa holder and their immediate family to access the same benefits as other U.S. residents, including in-state tuition.
For Indian IT professionals, one of the most significant hurdles has been the green card backlog. According to the U.S. Department of State, the waiting period for Indian immigrants who have applied for green cards under the EB-2 and EB-3 categories can stretch up to several decades. However, the EB-5 visa program offers a faster route to obtaining a green card and achieving permanent resident status. The recent modifications to the EB-5 program by USCIS now permit the submission of the I-485 status adjustment form. This provides applicants with the legal right to remain in the U.S. as they await a decision regarding their I-526 immigrant visa petitions. With these changes, new investors can expect to receive priority processing with approvals in as little as 120 days.
The EB-5 visa also offers Indian IT professionals an opportunity to secure a prosperous future for their children. Once a green card holder, their children can access the U.S. educational system from kindergarten through to college and beyond. Furthermore, children of green card holders are eligible to pay in-state tuition fees at colleges, a significant reduction compared to international student rates.
The H-1B visa lottery system has been a source of frustration and uncertainty for many Indian IT professionals. The number of applicants far exceeds the limited annual cap, leading to a random lottery selection process. With the EB-5 visa, Indian IT professionals can bypass this lottery and secure permanent residency directly through their investment, providing them with a more predictable and reliable route to living and working in the U.S.
The EB-5 visa is emerging as a powerful tool for Indian IT professionals seeking to build secure and prosperous lives in the United States. By offering stability, flexibility, and faster access to permanent residency, the EB-5 visa program is transforming the immigration landscape, providing Indian IT professionals with a viable path to achieving their American Dream.