Create jobs and invest money in US for a faster Green Card
Posted on October 21, 2011
BANGALORE: If you don’t want to wait years on end for a Green Card in the US, there is a quicker route — the EB5 immigration visa. But it comes with a rider, you have to create jobs and invest money in the US.
The EB5 is an immigration visa that gets families a permanent Green Card in return for an investment of either $500,000 or $1 million and proof that the investment has created 10 direct or indirect jobs. It provides a short-cut to a conditional Green Card – a permanent resident card that allows an alien to live permanently in the US — within a year of applying, which can take about three years to convert to a permanent one.
“The programme facilitates foreign entrepreneurs’ capital investment that creates or preserves US jobs by supporting the establishment of new commercial enterprises or assist troubled US-based businesses in economically distressed areas,” Stephanie Ostapowich, public affairs officer, Office of Communications, Media Relations Division, US Citizenship and Immgration Services (USCIS) said.
A Green Card through other visa categories can take up to several years. Recent reports by the National Foundation for American Policy, which tracks immigration data, show that getting a Green Card for Indians who have received a university degree from the US can even take up to 70 years given the large number of visa-seekers and the limited number of visas available. Indian Green Card seekers who have a degree from an American University need to apply in the EB3 visa category.
“Failure to retain these talented individuals in the United States means they will go to work for global firms in other countries or US businesses will need to place them abroad, pushing more work outside the United States,” Stuart Anderson, the author of the report released earlier this month said.
Though the EB5 visa was created by the Immigration Act of 1990, lack of awareness and the complexity of the investment has kept Green Card seekers away. Investment experts like Greg Wing, the managing director of Green Card Fund, have now recognised this as an option to help start-ups in the US get funds.
However, things are changing with the visa gaining attention of both American businesses and government. Since the spectre of a global downturn resurfaced, Wing has been getting calls from businesses who would like to get EB5 funding several times a day. Which is also why Wing is now visiting Indian shores, to create awareness about the mechanism and raise millions of dollars from Indians in return for giving them a chance to live the American Dream.
“Since the economy worsened, I have been getting several calls for this route of funding. I just tell most of them not possible that businesseses are too risky,” he said. In the past 3 to four years the US government too has been promoting the EB5 visa actively by bringing in more clarity on regulations around the investments.
Investment under the EB5 category can be made in any project in the US, across industries. Visa-seekers can buy an existing business and run them, help troubled businesses, start their own business or give the money to regional centres like Wing’s that can identify the projects and make the investment for them. Applicants get a temporary Green Card after applying for an EB5 visa and making the investment and this is converted to a permanent Green Card once the applicant can prove that the investment has created jobs.