Introduced by the US Congress in 1990, the EB5 visa programme allows an individual to invest $500,000 in either of two Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) -- a high unemployment area in a US metropolis or a rural area outside of a metro -- or $1 million in a non-TEA area that can create 10 or more jobs and get US citizenship in a shorter time than H1-B visa holders.
The EB-5 program gained popularity as the laws for H1-B got tougher and uncertain this year. Currently, more and more Indians graduating from U.S. universities are opting for the EB-5 visa which grants them the green card in the shortest span. "At present India stands in the sixth position for EB-5 and with more awareness spreading about the various programs, EB-5 applications from India shall rise," said Patel.
The visa programme has come under controversy with critics saying that it puts up US citizenship for sale. However, the US Congress in September extended the scheme by three months. This is the second extension this year.
Asked what it would mean for Indian applicants, Mark Davies of Davis and Associates LLC said that Indian applicants needed to be very mindful of two issues looming over the EB5 scheme: A likely price increase and retrogression.
Asked about the demographic profile of Indians applying for the EB5 visa, he mentioned students studying in the US, workers on H1B visas already in the US, business owners looking to expand into the US and families looking to relocate to the US.
According to DeCicco, the Trump administration has brought all visas under hard scrutiny. "They have implemented tougher regulations on immigration and have increased the screening process of applicants under each category.