In spite of developments in the economy, the pandemic, and other global pressures, the H1B visa program has remained popular in India, particularly among professionals working in STEM categories. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made a notification in March 2023 stating that the quota for H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2024, beginning in October, had been met. This information was included in the announcement.
There has been a discernible rise in the number of applications for the EB5 Visa, which is notable considering the ongoing uncertainty and lengthy processing delays associated with other employment-based green card categories. This development is symptomatic of the fact that a large number of people in the United States are looking into other pathways to ensure their future.
When compared to other visa choices, the EB5 Visa provides a number of benefits. These advantages include the opportunity to get a permanent residence without requiring sponsorship from an employer, as well as the possibility of a more expedited road to citizenship in the United States. This program requires foreign nationals to make a minimum qualifying investment of $800,000 or INR 6.5 Crore into an EB5 Project that generates at least 10 new full-time employment for US employees. This investment must be made by a foreign person in order to qualify for the program. The funds are often extended as a loan to a real estate developer for a period of five to seven years, after which the money is reimbursed to the EB5 investor.
In return for the investment made over a period of five to seven years, an EB5 investor, their spouse, and any unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to apply for a green card in the United States. This card grants the holder the right to work, study, and remain in the country. The investor and their family are able to submit an application for US citizenship once they have had their green cards for a period of five years.
In addition, with the extension of the EB5 Visa program in March of 2022, the needed investment level was set to $800,000 in Targeted Employment regions, often known as TEA regions, and $1.05 million in non-TEA areas. This was the case regardless of whether the investment was being made in the United States or another country. Additionally, the program included visa-set-aside categories for EB5 investors. Out of these, 2% were designated for infrastructure projects, 20% went to rural regions, and 10% went to places with high unemployment rates. Because of these set-asides, new EB5 visa applicants have been given the opportunity to practically skip ahead of those who applied for an EB5 visa before to March 2022. The new legislation makes it possible for EB5 investors who are already living in the United States to submit applications for adjustments to their immigration status and work permits. Because of this, individuals are permitted to continue living and working in the United States until they are issued a Green Card. This is particularly appealing for H1B visa holders already working in the United States who now need to get permission from their employers to remain in the country and continue their employment.
The EB5 Visa provides a straightforward route to obtaining permanent residence in the United States. The ever-increasing unpredictability of the H1B Visa Lottery and the stringent requirements of work sponsorship—which, in some instances, have been compared to indentured servitude—have contributed to its rising popularity in India over the last ten years. This is one of the reasons why. When compared to the other kinds of visas, the EB-5 Visa allows for a more expedient road to permanent residency and citizenship. It provides a legitimate route to reside, work, and study in the United States.