If you’re an Indian investor and you didn’t meet the December deadline to apply for the EB-5 visa, you may be worried about how the visa is going to change in 2019 and if you should still apply for it. The answer is that you should still apply because all of the benefits that come with the EB-5 Visa will remain the same. Changes that are being considered involve changing the minimum investment requirement, changing the EB-5 Regional Center Program, and making changes to how many applications are being accepted from each country. So long as you are able to meet the monetary requirements, you should not let the changes deter you from applying for this visa.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program is one of the five employment-based (EB) preference programs in the United States. This visa provides a method for eligible Immigrant Investors to become lawful permanent residents by investing in a project that can create new full-time jobs for American workers. Often times these visa holders invest in targeted employment areas such as rural or high unemployment areas because the investment threshold lowers. This investment is seen as very advantageous for those areas. By putting more money into a business and creating new jobs for American workers, the visa is designed to help boost the American economy.
Potential EB-5 Changes In 2019
There is actually a lot of uncertainty currently about the EB-5 Visa and what the program is going to look like moving forward as there has not been a lot of information provided. The EB-5 Reform Act has been brought up and suggests that major changes are made to the program. In particular, the EB-5 Regional Center Program is expected to have major changes be discussed.
The EB-5 Regional Center program comes up for renewal every couple of months and has previously always been passed without reform. However, there are many who would like to see the program reformed and have suggested changes such as increasing the minimum investment amount and changing targeted employment areas. The minimum investment in targeted unemployment areas could go rise from $500,000 to $1.35 million. The direct program could see a rise from the minimum investment of $1 million to $1.8 million.
Some have even called for the program to expire altogether, but the economic growth and job creation stemming from the program has kept that from happening so far. Many believe that the program is likely to be reauthorized without reform because it follows President Trump’s agenda of investing more in the hiring of American workers over foreign visa holders.
Other proposed changes include reserving an annual number of EB-5 visas for immigrant investors who invest in rural areas, increasing the job creation requirement to 12 employees, increasing documentation needed to prove the legality of the funds used for the investment, and adding annual fees to those who decide to invest in regional centers.
Why You Should Still Apply For The EB-5 Visa Program
In the midst of the discussion of all of the changes, it can be easy to forget why the EB-5 is also known as the “golden visa.” What attracts most people to this program is that this visa is seen as a direct route to permanent residency. While permanent residency is not initially granted, it can be applied for after a period of time, usually under 21 months, with the condition that 10 permanent full-time jobs have in fact been created. Some visas explicitly state that while you have them you cannot apply for permanent residency, while others can take many years before you’re even allowed to apply.
Many people are attracted to this visa because it has significantly fewer requirements than other work visas. The EB-5 is different because it does not require you to speak English, you don’t need business management experience, you don’t need to meet any educational requirements, and college fees are offered at the same rates as U.S. citizens. The EB-5 visa is also unique because it does not require an employer to petition for you, you may apply for your visa on your own. For other visas, you must have a U.S. employer file a petition on your behalf to begin the application process.
Becoming an EB-5 investor also presents many advantages while you are residing in the U.S. One of these benefits is the chance for financial gain as a result of your investment. Other benefits include allowing your children to attend U.S. schools and receive a better education, and if you invest through a regional center, you can obtain a job separate from where you invested.
If you are intrigued by the opportunities an EB-5 Visa offers and are considering applying for the EB-5, be sure to speak to an immigration attorney as soon as possible for more information. An immigration attorney can provide you more information about the future of the EB-5 visa status, and help you navigate the application process more smoothly.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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