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The Wait For H-1B Alternative EB-5 Visa May Go Up Here Why

Usually an entrepreneurial visa with an initial investment of USD 500,000 and a promise to create at least ten full time jobs in the US, the EB-5 visa has been seen as a sure shot chance at a US Green Card.

The EB-5 visa, seen as the most popular alternative to the H-1B visa, may become dearer to obtain for Indians who are already among the top applicants for this permit.

The EB-5 visa is considered a ticket to getting US Green Card. The entrepreneurial visa requires applicants to declare an investment of $500,000 and a promise to create at least 10 full-time jobs in the US.

According to data from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, 587 Indians applied for EB-5 visa in FY17. As of October 2018, there are over 1200 Indian EB-5 applicants in the queue.

"As the country cap in EB-5 is 700 for each including India, it could take two years or a bit more to complete this backlog... There are no alternatives as far as the US is concerned. We believe the backlog could be as high as five years by end of next year. China now has a backlog of over 15 years," said Ashish Saraff, Managing Director, South Asia and Middle East, AVG America Investments LLC.

AVG America Investments is a unit of AVG group founded by Shalabh Kumar who is a top Indian-American donor to US President Donald Trump's election campaign. It helps applicants invest in American businesses.

The EB-5 investor visa programme allocates up to 10,000 visas annually to foreign nationals, with a per country cap of 7 percent. India is the third highest filer of EB-5 visa application after China and Vietnam.

The current investment amount remains at $500,000 for an entire family of applicants.

The EB-5 visa has been around for 27 years now, with the minimum investment remaining the same. However, EB-5 has been under Congressional review and the investment amount is likely to go up from USD 500,000 to close to USD 1 million.

Even though there has been an increase in the number of EB-5 applicants from India, China remains the number one user of EB-5.

Over 8,000 Chinese investors applied during 2017 fiscal for the EB-5 programme, according to USCIS data. AVG expects the demand to continue to grow as more and more Indian families and their children learn about the benefits of the EB-5 visa programme.

Young children, some as young as 10 years are potential"investors" for EB-5 visas in China, said Saraff.

"EB-5 investors have to now plan more in advance. When I used to meet investors last year, those whose kids were between 14 and 18 told me that it was too early for them. Not anymore," he added.

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