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  • Priyanka Sangani

For US entry, the rich prefer EB5 over H-1B

Two years after Chennaibased Krish Iyer’s (name changed on request) twin sons went to the US for their higher education, they were ambivalent about moving back to India. Iyer, who is a serial entrepreneur, wanted them to enter the job market on an equal footing with everyone else and not be dependent on the vagaries of the ever-changing visa policies, he told ET. “I decided to explore options for them to continue to stay on in the US and the EB5 visa was the only sure shot avenue,” he said.

The EB5 investor programme puts investors who meet certain criteria on a fast track path to obtaining permanent residency in the country. While the EB5 programme provides for residency for the entire family, Iyer and his wife were not interested in uprooting themselves and the applications were made independently for both the sons. In Delhi, Sandeep Singh’s daughter had to return to India after studying psychology in the US as the job market was not very conducive at the time. While his son, who went on to study computer engineering did manage to secure an H-1B visa in 2014, Singh saw the early signs of the clampdown on legal immigration.

“My wife and I have worked in the corporate sector, followed by a successful stint as an entrepreneur; so we had the resources to consider the EB5 option. This was the only one where there was some certainty,” he said.

Singh is now considering applying for his daughter as well because of his experience the first time around. These are not isolated incidents. In the last few months, EB5 visa consultancies have reported a sharp spike in interest from wealthy Indian parents wanting to make investments in the US through this route for their children. Rogelio Caceres, co-founder of LCR Capital Partners, said, “Education-minded Indian parents are concerned that their children might not get a job or work visa in the US after spending years studying there. This is the key reason for the increased interest we’re seeing. They want to maximise the value of their US education,” he said.

LCR helps facilitate investments in EB5-eligible projects and Caceres was recently in Mumbai after travelling through Djakarta, Muscat and other locations, where he met primarily the Indian diaspora who was interested in investing through this route. For parents, the biggest attraction is that by the time the child graduates, he would have received his green card or permanent residency, making him eligible to apply for jobs without needing any additional documentation.

Vivek Tandon, CEO, EB5 BRICS, an EB5 visa consultancy, said that there had been an increased interest in families investing for their 12-16-year-olds.

“Most times, the parents are well settled in their careers in India and don’t want to uproot themselves. This is more about creating an option for the child.” he said. For Indians applying through this route, it takes about seven years to receive a green card as against Chinese residents where the waiting period is close to 15 years because of the current backlog.

Courtesy : Economic Times

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