The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has raised the minimum threshold investment level for EB5 visa from $500,000 to $900,000.
This rule is effective from November 21 and is the first significant revision the agency has made since 1993, Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said in a statement. The hike will have a significant impact on Indians, who are the third largest filer of EB-5 visas after China and Vietnam.
The investment required has been increased from $500,000 to $900,000 in targeted employment areas - regions where unemployment rate is high - and from $1m to $1.8m for the rest of the US.
Since its inception, the EB-5 program has drifted away from Congress's intent"
"Nearly 30 years ago, Congress created the EB-5 program to benefit US workers, boost the economy, and aid distressed communities by providing an incentive for foreign capital investment in the United States," said USCIS acting director Ken Cuccinelli.
"Since its inception, the EB-5 program has drifted away from Congress's intent. Our reforms increase the investment level to account for inflation over the past three decades and substantially restrict the possibility of gerrymandering to ensure that the reduced investment amount is reserved for rural and high-unemployment areas most in need. This final rule strengthens the EB-5 program by returning it to its Congressional intent."
Immigration lawyers expect a rush of fresh applications between now and November to avail of the lower investment threshold. Indians are among the top five applicants in the EB5 Immigrant Investor Program. A total of 10,000 EB5 immigration visas are issued each year. Experts estimate that 1,200 applications from high net worth Indians are on the waitlist for the EB5 visa.
According to the study by CATO Institute, Indian immigrants might have to wait on average 50 years to receive a GC. Based on the data available with USCIS, close to 632,219 Indian immigrants and their families are waiting for GC as of April last year.
Under the EB-5 program, eligible individuals can apply for lawful permanent residence within the United States by investing in a US based commercial enterprise and creating ten full-time jobs for qualified US workers.