The EB-5 visa is fast becoming a popular option for Indians studying in the US seeking a hassle-free route to a green card.
The US is a popular study destination among Indians. Three out of every ten Indian international students study there.
Quality of education apart, attractive post-study opportunities and a straight-forward route to permanent residence via the H-1B visa made the US a preferred destination.
But qualifying for the H-1B visa has become tougher, with a significant increase in red tape since Donald Trump became president.
Further proposals like barring H-1B spouses from working and an end to repeated visa extensions mean Indian students are exploring alternate options like the EB-5.
To qualify for a two-year conditional green card under the EB-5 visa program, candidates must invest $1 million in a commercial enterprise and create ten permanent jobs for Americans. The minimum requirement is reduced to $500,000 if invested in a targeted employment area.
Candidates gain all the rights and privileges of a permanent resident once the conditional green card is issued. If the EB-5 requirements continue to be met at the end of the two-year period, the conditional green card is converted into a permanent one.
Benefits of EB-5 For Foreign Students
For a candidate considering a career in the US, having a green card in hand at the end of a degree can make a huge difference.
A student with a green card can continue to live in the US after graduation. This gives the EB-5 visa applicant the freedom to pursue future options after completing their degree.
For those planning to work in the US, the green card frees them from numerous procedures and restrictions H-1B applicants face.
Candidates can avoid the H-1B lottery, apply for a wider range of jobs, negotiate with employers from a position of strength and switch jobs without having to worry about immigration status.
The student also has the option of setting up a business in the US without having to separately apply for an entrepreneur visa.
Importantly, a successful EB-5 application will protect the student from political and legal uncertainties.
While the H-1B visa program can be terminated or restricted, the EB-5 program is open to all those prepared to fulfill the minimum investment and job-creation requirements.
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