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EB-5 visa: Investment limit increase not likely till December

The employment-based fifth preference category (EB-5) visa is meant for high net worth individuals (HNIs) to earn the Green Card which offers permanent residency in the US for themselves and their immediate family. India is 3rd highest filer of EB-5 visa application after China, Vietnam.

For now, the investment limit for EB-5 investor visa program is not expected to increase at least till December this year, according to US Congressman Aaron Schock. The EB-5 visa program provides Green Cards to foreigners (and their direct family) investing at least $500,000 in the U.S.

September Extension of the EB-5 Program

“We don’t see an investment hike when the EB-5 programme gets an extension in September. That (investment limit) is expected to change only when the new session is in place,” said Schock, a Republican and the Chief Sponsor of the EB-5 Reauthorisation Bill 2012.

Eb-5 Visa Growth Rates

According to estimates, the EB-5 market has been growing at 30-40 percent every year from India and is expected to see a significant increase in the next 3-4 months as a sharp rise in investment limit is anticipated.

Schock said the programme has been for around 30 years but one thing that has remained constant and that is the price. For the UK it is as high as USD 2 million, Canada (USD 1 million) and Australia (USD 4 million).

“So the price is going to go up. we can’t tell you the day for certain but it’s going to happen,” he said and added that the price is expected to go up between USD 1 million and 1.3 million for investors”.

EB-5 investor visa programme allocates up to 10,000 visas annually to foreign nationals, with a per country cap of seven percent. India is the third highest filer of EB-5 visa application after China and Vietnam.

“If you look at EB-5 applicants we are growing by roughly 30-35 percent year on year, despite low awareness. But as awareness accelerates the rate of growth will potentially accelerate in the next few years,” Vikram Kumar, scion of Chicago-based AVG Group of Companies said.

Kumar further noted that a very large part of the Indian wealth creation happened in the last five years. From 50,000 millionaires in 2012, it has grown to 330,000 in 2018 and the number is expected to be much larger as there is a shadow economy.

“Given these circumstances the next few years are expected to be very good for the EB5 programme,” he noted.

In 1990, when the US Congress created category 5, the goal was to stimulate the economy through job creation and capital investment.

Two years later, with unemployment climbing, the Congress created the Regional Center Program and set aside EB-5 visas for those who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers.

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EB-5 Program Update:

The EB-5 Program has lapsed. The US Congress is discussing the legislation that authorizes the program while USCIS reviews the regulations and policies for filing. Because of the recent court ruling that reversed the 2019 Modernization regulations, the investment level has shifted temporarily from $900,000 back to $500,000.

If the program is reauthorized before the regulations are updated, there may be another window of opportunity to file at $500,000.

LCR expects the program to be reauthorized in December, and continues to work with international families that want to explore alternative residency options.

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