The Indian economy is forecast to be the fastest growing in the world this year. According to a report by Global Data the Indian economy is predicted to grow by 9.7% as its vaccination program gets underway.
As India’s economy recovers and grows, its business owners and entrepreneurs are once again eyeing global growth. At Davies & Associates we are seeing an uptick in demand for US and UK business and investors visas, as well as some interest in new markets like Vietnam and Italy.
L-1 Visa: Expanding a Business to the United States
Our Indian clients have continued to want to expand their businesses to the United States throughout the pandemic. Travel restrictions and an immigration suspension have inevitably slowed things down, but with a vaccine and a new Biden administration, things are starting to open up.
The main visa for expanding a business to the U.S. is the L-1 Visa, which allows a manager, executive or specialized-knowledge employee to move to the U.S. to oversee the establishment of the new office. With its teams of corporate and immigration lawyers, Davies & Associates helps its clients establish the U.S. entity as well as conducting all the necessary visa work.
The L-1 is a time limited visa restricted to a maximum of seven years, so L-1 visa holders need to then return home or transition to another visa. There is a possibility of obtaining a green card under the EB1C Visa, provided the client is able to demonstrate that there was no immigrant intent at the time of applying for the L-1 Visa.
E-2 Visa: Starting a Business in the United States
The other key solution for setting up a business in the United States is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. We have been helping an increasing number of Indians with this visa, despite it not been a typical route to America. In fact, we were one of the first law firms to obtain an E-2 Visa for clients from. This is because Indians are not directly eligible for the E-2 Visa because India does not hold a relevant treaty with the United States. Our Indian clients need to first become a citizen of an E-2 Treaty Country. Typically they opt for Grenada in the West Indies.
The E-2 Visa allows a person to move to the US with their family to invest in and run a business. The investment required needs to be appropriate to the business plan and usually upwards of $100,000. The visa can be renewed as long as the business continues to operate and spouses can apply to work outside the business.
The Grenada Citizenship by Investment application is quick and relatively cost effective. It takes just a few months and the applicant does not need to appear in person. The price starts from $150,000 for a donation to the national fund or $220,000 for an investment in real estate. Grenada has continued to process applications throughout the pandemic.
EB-5 Investor Visa
India was the largest market in the world for the U.S. EB-5 Investor Visa in 2019. That was before the investment requirement increased from $500,000 to $900,000 in November of that year to account for inflation that had not been applied since the program started in the 1990s.
The sticker shock of the price rise combined with Covid-19 dampened demand for EB-5 in 2020, but demand is on the rise again. It is good timing. Indians are limited to remitting a maximum of $250,000 each financial year – which will reset on April 1. This means that half the funds for and EB-5 investment can be remitted at the end of March and the remainder at the end of April. This should be done in a legally compliant way and we urge you to discuss this with our team.
Congress will debate the future of EB-5 at the end of June. The industry is hoping for long term reauthorization that will provide a clear steer to applicants. The changes could well be positive, but investors who wish to proceed with the certainty of the current regulations ought to consider applying before then.
UK Immigration Options
The UK has emerged from Brexit and is starting to look to Asia and to the Commonwealth. India ticks both boxes, and the UK remains a popular destination for our Indian clients. Entrepreneurs have the option of moving to the UK as the Sole Representative of their company, by transferring to the UK office of the business they work for, or by applying for a Start-up or Innovator Visa. The UK also offers residency by investment, albeit for considerably more than the U.S. with a starting price of £2 million.
Italian Immigration Options
Italy still has some way to go to be as popular with our Indian clients as the U.S. or the U.K., but people are nevertheless showing increasing interest in the country. Our recent expert webinar on One Euro Homes proved particular popular, and people have been intrigued by the Elective Residency Visa. This offers Italian residency to anyone who can prove they have at least €32,000 a year from income outside Italy to support themselves. Italy offers a residency-by-investment visa which is much cheaper than the U.S. or the U.K. The government recently reduced the price as a result of Covid, and investment now starts from €250,000.
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