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No. of Indian Applicants for U.S. EB-5 Visa Can Fall by 80% with Rise in Investment Limit

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The number of Indians applying for the EB-5 visa is expected to go down by 80 per cent if the United States government increases the investment amount from $500,000 to $1.3 million, according to CanAm Investor Services. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program is one of five employment-based (EB) preference programs in the United States.

The EB-5 visa is meant for high net worth investors (HNIs) to earn the green card. It offers permanent residency in the United States for them and their immediate family through a one-time minimum investment of $500,000 into a new business that creates 10 or more jobs for Americans. It is meant to encourage foreign investment and economic growth in the United States.

According to CanAm, the Trump administration has delayed the change in the investment amount until September 2018.

“The minimum investment limit is expected to increase from $0.5 million to $1.3 million. There are multiple proposals in place, one is by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that has proposed an increase in the investment amount to $1.3 million,” Abhinav Lohia , CanAm Investor Services vice president for India and Middle East, told PTI.

“Also, the DHS is of the opinion they can change the amount independently without a vote in the Congress,” he said, adding that without the Congress’ approval the policy change can be litigated against.

India was expected to become one of the largest applicant countries in the world but the change in the investment amount will lead to a 50-80 per cent decline, CanAm, a service provider for these visa seekers, said.

“The number of EB-5 visa applicants from India has more than doubled since 2014 and the country is expected to become the second largest applicant country in the world. In FY17, over 500 Indians applied for EB-5 visas against 354 in FY16,” Lohia said.

“Depending on the increase in the amount, the number of applicants from here may fall anywhere from 50 to 80 per cent,” he added.

The EB-5 market in India has been growing by 30-40 per cent per year and 500 applicants sought the visa in 2017, resulting in an investment of around $300 million. The increase in applicants in 2016 was by 50, but in 2017, 97 more applicants were there.

Three proposals for hiking the EB-5 visa are being considered, according to earlier reports. The first one seeks an increase of $300,000 to reach $800,00 for the minimum amount and an increase in the $1 million limit to $1.2 million. The second proposal calls for an increase of the minimum limit to $925,000 and the maximum to $1.025 million, while the third seeks to increase these to $1.3 million and $1.8 million, respectively.

The first two proposals will lead to a dip in applications only in the short-term but the last proposal can lead to a large dip, Pankaj Joshi, managing director of Nysa Capital, was earlier quoted as saying by IANS.