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Indians making a beeline for EB-5 visa to get Green Card

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Minimum investment required is $500,000.

AB Wire

US-Visa

Interest is increasing in India for the EB-5 visa program, which gives a Green Card for the applicant and his immediate family members, for investing a minimum of $500,000 in a USCIS approved project in the United States.

There’s been a 25% increase in 2016, over the previous year’s number of applicants for EB-5 visa, according to data from the US State Department. For 2016, as many as 130 EB-5 visas are likely to be granted by the US for Indian businesspersons. The previous year, in 2015, a total of 111 individuals were granted the visa, according to the data.

The EB-5 visa was under scrutiny after the Indian American middleman Anshoo Sethi convinced about 290 Chinese nationals to invest $160 million dollars in a non-existent hotel complex, reported The Times of India.

Charges were brought against Sethi that he had defrauded investors and the US government through false statements and representations over his intention to build a convention center complex with hotels near O’Hare International Airport between January 2011 and February 2013. But despite such setbacks and negative press, law firms say that there is now a definite increase in interest in both countries for the issuance of visas in this category.

“I can certainly say EB5 will be the next big thing on the Indian business start-up scene. We’ve had clients from high-level fashion houses to sweet shops opting for the program. China every year has thousands of visas issued under this category. Even Vietnam that’s much smaller in size has more EB5 visas issued than India,” lawyer Mark Davies was quoted as saying.

In 2015, immigrants of Chinese origin had 8,156 EB5 visas issued to the. China tops the list with 83.5% of the market share, while India comes is fifth with just 1.1%. Vietnamese businessmen bagged 280 visas in 2015 with 2.9% of the market.

“EB5 immigrant investor program was created to pump in fresh funds into the American economy. It hopes to create stimulus with jobs and new capital from high-net worth foreign investors. The minimum requirement is that the applicant invest $1 million in some commercial enterprise in the US and create at least 10 jobs for locals,” says Abhinav Lohia of law firm Davies & Associate, LLC, which specializes in immigrant policy.

Under the EB-5 visa program, one needs to invest $1 million in a business enterprise, or at least $500,000 if the project is to come up in a remote or targeted employment areas.

“We’ve had many high net worth individuals in India looking at EB5 as a serious alternative. There has been a steady rise in applications. In 2011, there were only 37 visas under EB5 issued to Indians, the number rose from 38 in 2012 to 96 in 2014,” says Davies.