In view of the H-1B employment visas' unsettled nature and applicants' long wait exceeding 10 years, EB-5 visas have emerged as the best bet for Indian families aspiring for US green cards, a US immigration lawyer has said.
Stating this at a press conference here, US Investment Immigration Attorney Vaughan de Kirby, whose firm has successfully represented over 1,300 EB-5 applicants, said EB-5 visas are the answer for enterprising Indians as one qualified investment can result in a green card for the applicants, their spouses and children under 21 years of age.
"With the United States EB-5 Investment Visa programme set to expire on September 30, 2017, applicants making a rush for EB-5 visas should act cautiously and guard themselves against fraud by following a step-by-step approach and engaging a Securities Representative licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
"Only then can the investor be assured of true third party diligence. There have been frauds in some EB-5 Regional Centres," said Kirby, a seasoned law expert.
The EB-5 visa will only be applicable to persons who are helping the country’s economic progress by investing in a commercial enterprise that will ensure the job-creation for ten full-time positions. The minimum investment must be a USD 1 million (approximately Rs 6.5 crore) for an EB-5 visa.
The other option is investing half of the said amount in a designated rural area or a targeted employment area which has been earmarked for economic development by the United States government.
Elaborating on the advantages of EB-5 visas, Kirby said that while the processing time for EB-5 category is just 18 months for Indian citizens, these visas offer employment at more competitive wages which are freely negotiable rather than dictated by the employer.
"Given the uncertainty of travel restrictions, a green card is the best protection. If freedom to travel, work and live anywhere in the US is what you are looking at, an EB-5 green card is just the right thing for you provided you keep the do's and don'ts in mind," he said.
Touching upon the critical steps that EB-5 visa applicants should follow, Kirby said, "Comprehensive background checks on all regional centres are a must.
"The applicants should ensure that the proposed project has entitlements for the project they propose and find out whether the necessary jobs can actually be created and if the investor is also protected against default."