New law makes it easier for investors already in the US to get travel and work permits
With 2.7 million Indians in the United States, the country boasts of the second largest Indian diaspora in the world. Apart from H-1B, L-1 and F-1 visa holders, EB-5 visas are the other most rising visa category through which Indians are coming to the United States.
In the post-pandemic world especially, having a second residency is one of the most thriving immigration trends that has seen a sudden upswing. Interestingly, India remains an important part of this multibillion-dollar industry.
According to various financial reports, India has the largest emigrant body in the world, with 18 million persons of Indian origin living, working, and studying outside its borders.
READ: Narendra Modi and the proud Indian diasporaâ€™s Indianness (June 20, 2023)
In 2020, India broke its own record with the highest number of wealthy Indians making inquiries about residency and citizenship-by-investment programs. That number had risen by 63% just since the previous year.
The United Arab Emirates, which just implemented its own residency by investment program, hosts the largest Indian diaspora, comprising 3.5 million Indians, followed closely by the United States, with 2.7 million.
Is Europe the first choice?
When considering Indiaâ€™s wealthiest individuals, the European Union appears to be the destination of choice. Indiaâ€™s upper class consider leaving the country because of less-than-optimal local tax rules, the need for diversification, the search for a higher standard of living, and, frequently, the goal of retiring in Europe.
Portugal has been the most popular destination, followed by Malta and Greece. All three countries boast popular residency and citizenship-by-investment programs.
Outside the EU, Dubai is a very popular destination, thanks, unsurprisingly, to its own golden visa program. The US, of course, is also a popular destination, particularly for students and entrepreneurs.
Since Indiaâ€™s constitution does not allow for dual citizenship, most Indians look toward residency-by-investment rather than citizenship-by-investment programs, using them mainly to enhance educational and professional opportunities.
Residency and citizenship-by-investment programs face different challenges and changes across the globe. In the United States, the EB-5 visa has remained a solid option for wealthy individuals since its inception in 1990.
Application numbers for 2022 increased exponentially since the countryâ€™s recovery from Covid and a temporary lapse in its residency-by-investment program.
Furthermore, new legislation passed last year makes it easier for investors who are already in the US on other visas to get travel and work permits. This means they no longer need to be sponsored or go through the H-1B lottery system.
European golden visa programs are not in such solid shape, with the EU pressuring countries all over the continent to shut down or limit their programs.
Ireland and the UK have already discontinued their investment visas, and the highly popular Portugal Golden Visa may possibly follow.
Other solid options such as Malta, Greece, and Montenegro remain, with new players, like Northern Macedonia, joining the ranks. While everchanging, residency and citizenship by investment programs are clearly here to stay.
READ: Indian Immigrants in the United States (December 7, 2022)
Investment-based visa advantages
Investment-based visas tend to stand out among other visas. They require a significant investment, but they free the applicant from being tied to a specific company or needing to have family already in the country.
Requirements for the visa differ based on the country of choice. Sometimes, making a real-estate purchase of a certain price is enough, whereas in other cases, visas require investments in companies that aid in job creation.