Here’s why H-1B Visa Holders are applying for EB-5

The ascendance of the Trump administration has seen the uncertainty of the H-1B visa’s future rise, turning many H-1B visa holders to the EB-5 program, particularly as an alternate pathway to US citizenship. For more background, also see our article on the EB-5 as an alternative to the H-1B visa.

The Trump administration has clearly expressed a desire for companies based in the US to hire more Americans. Further, a bill proposed earlier in the year sought to, as an incentive for these companies to hire more Americans, double the minimum salary that employers are required to pay to each H-1B visa holder.

H-1B and EB-5 Visa: what’s the difference?

While both allow entry of a foreign national into the US, the H-1B visa is known as non-immigrant status in that it that allows companies in the US to hire foreign workers, usually those that work in specialty fields such as IT engineering and medicine.

The EB-5 visa program is an immigrant investor program that gives the investor a green card in exchange for their investing of a minimum of $500,000. The funds are to be invested into a new, job-creating social enterprise.

How is EB-5 better than H-1B?

  • Being an investment program, EB-5 one does not need to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher which is a key pre-requisite for the H-1B program
  • An EB-5 application is not dependent on employment for conditional permanent residency, but only dependent on the approval of an I-526 petition approval. However, H1-B visa holders are required, for the purposes of maintaining H-1B status, to continue working for their employer
  • Applicants to the EB-5 program are not required to work in specialty fields
  • An EB-5 application is a potentially faster path to citizenship
  • EB-5 applicant’s spouse and children under 21 qualify to attain green cards
  • A H-1B applicant is required to leave the United States once they are terminated from their employment. Though the USCIS may allow the change of a H1-B holders status to another non-immigrant visa, this is likely to cause issues
  • The EB-5 investor’s application allows their spouse and any unmarried children under the 21 years of age to qualify for green cards
  • Investors in the EB-5 are not required to live by their investment and can therefore live, work and also school pretty much anywhere in the US; they are also not required to be involved in the day-to-day management of their investments
  • The money required to be invest in the EB-5 visa program may be gifted to the applicant by their family members

Given the highlighted advantages that the EB-5 visa provides over the H-1B visa program, as well as the H-1B’s overall volatility, many applicants, particularly those from India, are considering an investment in the EB-5 program over the H-1B program.

What do I have to do to get started with the EB-5 investment program?

Potential EB-5 applicants are encouraged to get started with their investment by consulting a suitably qualified immigration attorney.

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