…that have impacted the lives of Indians
The ever-changing landscape of immigration policies hasn’t deterred Indians from relocating to the U.S. for education and professional opportunities. Historically, the U.S. has been the country of preference for Indian immigrants, as it offers economic, legal and regulatory infrastructure, shaped for young entrepreneurs, students, and professionals.
Following the upheavals in the immigration landscape, aspirants are concerned about the constantly changing guidelines & procedures when planning to permanently relocate to the U.S. The dual intent H1B visa program has been the most commonly taken route by aspiring Indians to enter the U.S. over the years. However, the on-going changes in the U.S. immigration policies have pushed them to evaluate and weigh alternate ways of migrating to the country.
These inconsistent process fluctuations have not only impacted their prospects of a stable life and sustainable growth in the country, but have also disrupted operations of American firms. The H1B visa program offers foreign nationals an opportunity to work in the U.S. post acquiring a sponsorship from their employer. Due to a rampant increase in demand for the visa, it now functions on a lottery-based system that on an average requires at least one out of three visa approvals. Should an individual receive an approval, the process pushes them to wait for over a decade before they can receive a green card in the country.
Unreliable immigration policies have also proven to dishearten capable and highly skilled persons pursuing professional opportunities in the U.S. Owing to the constant changes, employers are also becoming hesitant to sponsor foreign nationals for a work visa, as in the current scenario, they are unsure of the acceptance of the application for the extension of an employee’s status, even with an identical application being approved recently.
A vast majority of the Indian student population moves to the U.S. for higher education. The most commonly used is the F1 student visa route. Under this visa category, renowned American universities have had an acceptance rate of less than one percent for non-U.S. residents at times. This is a grave disadvantage for aspiring Indian students to be a part of colleges like MIT or Stanford in comparison to their American peers.
Also, under the F-1 visa, immigrant students do not qualify for lower `in-state’ tuition rates, student loans at lower costs or merit-based scholarships and awards that are reserved only for U.S. citizens and Green Card holders. Another widely used visa program is the L1 visa pro-gram. This intra-company transfer visa enables firms to send employees belonging to the managerial, executive or specialized knowledge categories to their U.S.-based offices on a temporary basis, after working for the said employer for at least one year.
Although a dual intent visa, the L1 visa restricts the employee from changing their employer and/or starting their own business in the U.S., which at times can prove to be challenging in the long run. Individuals on an L1 visa also have a long-waiting period before they can apply for a Green Card and can also face a possibility of denial when they apply for an extension of their status.
To overcome the challenges posed by the above-mentioned visa programs, the affinity towards the employment-based fifth preference category (EB-5) visa has been gaining momentum, especially in the Indian market. India by far has been the fastest growing EB-5 market globally with 18 per-cent of all EB5 investor’s inflow vs. four percent one year ago. The investor visa program attracts foreign nationals willing to invest a minimum of $500,000 in the U.S. market in exchange for a Green Card for the applicant and their family (spouse and children below 21 years).
The EB-5 visa offers a wide array of benefits to an immigrant whose objective is to permanently settle in the U.S.their American peers.
The relatively simple application process begins with preparing relevant documents along with the assessment of the source of funds, which takes up to 30 days. The second step incorporates keeping tabs on the I-526 petition, wherein the investor monitors their investment.
Following the approval of the I-526 application, the investor’s attorney files for an adjustment of status, if the investor is already in the U.S. or on an immigrant visa should they be living outside the country; a process that takes between 3-6 months. The immigrant then acquires their conditional Green Card in approximately 18-24 months in total.
The EB-5 visa offers a wide array of benefits to an immigrant whose objective is to permanently settle in the U.S. These benefits range from freedom in personal & professional lives, access to healthcare facilities, comparatively easier approvals, and much more.
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