Former US Congressman and leader of the ruling Republican party, Aaron Schock said on Wednesday that the minimum investment for obtaining EB-5 visa which gives green card and conditional resident status of his country to immigrant investors would likely be more than doubled from existing $500000 to anywhere from $1.2million to $1.5million from next year.
During a press conference here Schock said that President Donald Trump wanted to increase the proportion of merit based visas to 50% in comparison to current 20% of total around one million visas. He has said that according to Trump there were two ways to get visas. One was family based and the second one was merit based. Currently the proportion of family based one was 80% and that of merit based was only 20%. The president wanted to make it 50-50 so that more and more people come through the mode of investment which also created jobs for Americans.
Schock, who is also Chief Sponsor & Author of EB-5 Reauthorization Law, said that the minimum investment for EB 5 visa has not been revised for last 3 decades and there was a wide consensus among both democrats and republicans to raise it. It was likely to be raised to $1.2m to $1.5m from 2019.
He said that UK requires a minimum investment of $2 million, Australia $4m and even Canada $1m for issuing similar visas.
Rejecting the criticism that US was sort of selling visas with programs like EB 5, Schock said that it was not correct as the investment was not a cost but a refundable amount. EB-5 has many advantages over H1B visa including getting resident status for the whole family rather than only one individual. He informed that an investor could chose to invest in projects anywhere in the US under the EB 5 regime. Currently China with around 80% chunk was the largest user of such visas and got around 8000 last year against 300 to 500 by Indian investors. The yearly limit for such visas was 10000.
Schock also a Co-founder of AVG America Investments, an EB-5 fund-raiser that is setting up operations in India participated in a conclave about EB5 here which was also attended by VikramAditya Kumar, Founder and CEO of AVG America Investments and of Republican Hindu Coalition and Kevin Wright, renowned EB-5 economist and the founder of over 1/4th of all the EB-5 Regional Centers.
Kumar highlighted that the EB-5 visa route to the United States is likely to get bumpy post December 7. With the Trump administration’s decision to extend EB-5 visa closing date up to December 7, 2018, the investments required to obtain the visa are most likely to increase by a marginal amount post that. For investors looking to acquire US citizenship, this might be the best chance to proceed with the applications.
Indians, mostly Gujaratis are crossing all hurdles to chase the American dream. Indian immigrants especially Gujaratis in 1940s, built a hospitality industry that have now turned into an empire. A majority of these owners are from Gujarat state’s industrious Patel community. Motels in America are run by these immigrants, many second- and third-generation Gujaratis in the United States imbibed an entrepreneurial spirit which they are applying to modernizing the businesses they inherited and launching new businesses of their own, he said.
“The number of dollar-millionaires in India has grown by 18 per cent to 3.5 lakh last year. Stable US economy quality education better life style and a great job prospect are increasing the aspirants for US and this has made EB5 the fastest and surest path to US residency. H1B is no longer a viable path” said Vikram Kumar.