It seems that the Trump administration may bring in further restriction for the H1B specialty worker visa and L1 visa programs (includes the L1A intra-company transfer visa for executives and managers and L1B intra-company transfer visa for specialized knowledge workers). There are also concerns that the EB5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program may become much more difficult in future or may even be cancelled. Wealthy Indians are turning to the EB5 immigrant investor visa to secure a coveted US Green Card ahead of possible changes. The EB5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program enables high net-worth individuals (HNIs) to gain a Green Card and permanent residency for themselves and immediate family members. Indian nationals unlike many other nationals are unable to come under the E2 Treaty Investor or E1 Treaty Trader visa category.
Investors are required to make a one-off investment of at least $500,000 into a US company that generates 10 or more US jobs. According to a report published by The Hindu Business Online, filings for EB5 visas have already hit record levels in 2017, with India ranking as the fourth largest beneficiary of the EB-5 immigrant program in the world.
Jose Latour, president and managing director of Miami-based investment firm, American Venture Solutions, said: “Heightened awareness of the EB-5 program, and the fact that there are not many other avenues available for Indian nationals to obtain their US Green Cards, have contributed to the increase of EB-5 filings this year.”
Sanwar Ali, Editor of Workpermit.com reviews Trump Visa Policy and US Business Visas
Indians cannot come under the E2 Treary Investor Scheme or E1 Treaty Trader visa schemes. There is no quota for these US visa schemes. Perhaps in an "unofficial" attempt to restrict entry of Indians on US work visas India is not on the list of Countries whose nationals can come under the E2 and E1 visa schemes. The EB5 investor green card visa is expensive. It still remains the case that Indian entrepreneurs can come under the L1A Executive or Manager visa or EB1C Employment based immigrant visa as an executive or manager. There may be other options to consider as well as the EB5 Immigrant Investor option.
Possible H1B Visa salary hike will also affect Indians
Currently, the US government is considering plans to more than double the H1B salary requirement from $60,000 to $130,000 as part of the H1B Reform Bill, a move that would make the program virtually inaccessible for most Indian students graduating in
Rogelio Caceres, Co-Founder and CMO of US-based private investment firm LCR Capital Partners, which supports the EB-5 programme said: “As the new Trump administration considers new legislation that could restrict traditional US immigration options such as the H1B and L1 visa programs, Indian HNIs are increasingly getting attracted to the EB-5 program. Our clients are attracted to the reliability and timeliness of the EB-5 program as well as the broad bi-partisan support the program has amongst both political parties.”
It is possible that the US government will try to scrap the EB-5 program altogether by the end of April, 2017. Hopefully the Trump Administration will not take the extreme route of trying to cancel the EB5 Immigrant Investor Visa route. Perhaps it is more likely that the minimum investment requirement be increased from $500,000 to $1,300,000.
US investment companies say that the Trump administration will not scrap the EB-5 visa, but suggested that the program would face a number of key changes. Latour said: “EB-5 will continue, with whatever changes are invoked. New regulations may well be in place even before the current April termination of the pilot program extension.”
The EB-5 visa program has made news in recent years due to a series of scandals. However, many would argue that this US visa is good for the US economy as it brings jobs and investments into the US.
The temporary extension that’s currently keeping the EB-5 program alive is set to expire on April 28, 2017. On January 13, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) did issue a notice of proposed new regulations for EB-5, with comments required by April 11.
The fate of the EB5 immigrant investor visa route now looks set to be decided in the coming weeks.
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