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Investment limit hike for EB-5 visa not likely till December; to cost $1 mn-3 mn: US official

New Delhi: The investment limit for EB-5 investor visa programme, which provides Green Cards to foreigners investing at least $500,000 in the US, is not expected to increase at least till December this year, according to US Congressman Aaron Schock.

The employment-based fifth preference category (EB-5) visa is meant for high networth individuals (HNIs) to earn the Green Card which offers permanent residency in the US for themselves and their immediate family through a one-time minimum investment of $00,000 into a new business that creates 10 or more jobs for the Americans.

“We don’t see an investment hike when the EB-5 programme gets an extension in September. That (investment limit) is expected to change only when the new session is in place,” Schock, a Republican and the Chief Sponsor of the EB-5 Reauthorisation Bill 2012 told PTI.

According to estimates, the EB-5 market has been growing at 30-40 percent every year from India and is expected to see significant increase in the next 3-4 months as there is anticipation of a sharp rise in investment limit.

Schock said the programme has been for around 30 years but one thing that has remained constant and that is the price. For the UK it is as high as $2 million, Canada ($1 million) and Australia ($4 million).

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Representational image. Reuters

“So the price is going to go up. we can’t tell you the day for certain but its going to happen,” he said and added, that "the price is expected to go up between $1 million and 1.3 million for investors”.

EB-5 investor visa programme allocates up to 10,000 visas annually to foreign nationals, with a per country cap of seven percent.

India is the third highest filer of EB-5 visa application after China and Vietnam.

“If you look at EB-5 applicants we are growing by roughly 30-35 percent year on year, despite low awareness. But as awareness accelerates the rate of growth will potentially accelerate in the next few years,” Vikram Kumar, scion of Chicago-based AVG Group of Companies said.

Kumar further noted that a very large part of the Indian wealth creation happened in the last five years. From 50,000 millionaires in 2012 it has grown to 330,000 in 2018 and the number is expected to be much larger as there is a shadow economy. “Given these circumstances the next few years are expected to be very good for the EB5 programme,” he noted.

Chicago-based AVG Group of Companies was founded by India-born Shalabh Kumar in 1975, which has since turned into a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate.

AVG America Investments LLC (AAI) is a subsidiary of the Group and a global leader in the EB5 with over 1,800 investors, 1,407 I-526 (conditional PR) approvals, and 351 I-829 (permanent PR) approvals. The Group has achieved over 5,000 conditional Green Cards for its patrons till now.

In 1990, when the US Congress created category 5, the goal was to stimulate the economy through job creation and capital investment.

Two years later, with unemployment climbing, the Congress created the Regional Centre Programme and set aside EB-5 visas for those who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers.

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Updated Date: Sep 09, 2018 11:57:54 IST