US Golden Visa: Why are Indians lining up for EB-5 after recent changes

Wealthy applicants from India and China are applying for United States of America’s EB-5 visa – or the ‘Golden Visa’ – programme which allows foreign investors to earn a fast track to permanent US residency.’

According to the visa programme, the US offers a green card to those applicants making huge investments and create at least 10 permanent jobs in the country.

Started in 1990, the investor programme was revised in March 2022 after a legislation passed by the US Congress.

Estimates say around 10,000 high-net-worth Chinese residents and 8,000 Indians are mulling to enter through the EB-5 visa programme, reported the quint quoting investment migration consultant Henley & Partners.

What is Golden Visa?

A visa programme by the United States offering US residency – a green card – to investors, their spouses, and unmarried children under 21 if they invest large sums in a US business and create at least 10 permanent jobs.

According to a Bloomberg report, the there was a backlog that extended almost a decade for the EB-5 visa as the Congress failed to reauthorise it in 2021.

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Recent changes in the EB-5 visa:

On 15 March, US President Joe Biden signed the law passed by the Congress, in which under the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act 2002 was done. As per details, the US government hiked the minimum investment from $500,000 to $800,000 in targeted employment areas.

Also, the Congress revised the minimum investment from $1,000,000 to $1,050,000 for investments in non-targeted unemployment areas.

EB-5 visa requirements:

As said earlier, to apply for the EB-5 visa, an investor need to invest a minimum of $800,000 in targeted employment areas or $1,050,000 in non-targeted unemployment areas.

The amount must be spent in a new commercial enterprise which will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services says the commercial enterprise where the investments can be made include a new commercial enterprise established after 29 November 1990. It can also be made at enterprise established on or before 29 November 1990 but expanded through the investment that would result in at least a 40% increase in the net worth or number of employees, quoted the quint.

Controversies:

Though the EB-5 visa scheme promises jobs for US citizens, it has been under controversies as critics have cited financial irregularities and raised potential national security or transparency issues.

Apart from this, the scheme also failed to target development in low-income areas and was marred by financial scandals involving multi-million fraud cases stretching from California to the ski slopes of Vermont.

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