Relaxation on H1-B and L-1 Visa

EB-5 Visa Quotas Almost Double in 2021, Potentially Benefiting India, China, Vietnam

The number of EB-5 visas available to investors is set to almost double in the coming year – a peculiar side-effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

EB-5 is an employment-based US immigrant visa. The number of employment-based immigrant visas available each year is limited to 140,000. However, this is topped up if there are any unused family-based visas from the previous year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented number of unused family-based visas. The closure of US embassies and the temporary suspension of various visa categories have had a significant impact.

This means there is a large number of visas that can be carried over from the family-based allocation to the employment-based one. The October Visa Bulletin puts this at 121,500 visas.

When added to the 140,000 visas, this means that 261,500 employment-based visas are available for the fiscal year 2021, which runs from October 2020 to September 2021.

What does this mean for EB-5?

As the acronym suggests, EB-5 is the fifth employment-based visa category. It targets foreign investors with an offer of permanent residency (Green Card) for a $900,000 investment that creates ten American jobs in a Targeted Employment Area. Learn more.

EB-5 is limited to 7.1% of the total employment-based visas available in any given year. Normally this is almost 10,000 visas, but in the bumper FY2021 this will jump to 18,566 visas.

18,566 EB-5 Visas Available in FY2021

Each country is subject to an annual cap. No country can exceed more than 7% of the total EB-5 visas available. This is determined by country of birth (unlike the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, which takes account of country of current citizenship see: E-2 plus Citizenship by Investment)

Normally, that means each country is subject to an annual quota of around 700 visas. Note: that the number of visas does not equate to the number of applications. A single application and investment can cover the applicant, a spouse, and dependant children under 21. Each individual would be counted separately in terms of visas but together as one in terms of applications.

The 2021 rollover means 1299 visas available to each country in this fiscal year. While most countries don’t come close to this annual limit, three countries are or have been severely impacted by this: India, China and Vietnam.

EB-5 Country Quota of 1300 in FY2021

Demand for EB-5 visa from these three countries is especially high and has often exceeded supply. This is a result of their large populations and historically high levels of interest in emigrating to the United States.

When demand exceeds supply, the countries enter what is called visa retrogression and applicants face a waiting list. How this work in practice is detailed on our visa bulletin blog.

With more visas available, there is opportunity for China and Vietnam to make greater inroads into the current backlogs. This would significantly reduce waiting times. India has not faced retrogression since July, but it had been teetering close to a return to waiting list. The risk of retrogression would recede.

India and China also face visa retrogressing in other employment-based visa categories, including EB-1 for people with extraordinary ability and EB-3 for highly skilled workers. The waiting times in both these visa categories may also fall.

Ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic

Caveats remain. An increase in visa availability would need to be matched by an administrative capacity to cope. With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing, it is unlikely that business-as-usual will resume anytime soon.

This may mean that India, Vietnam and China are unable to make full use of the extra visa availability in 2021. Any unused visas would not be rolled over again.

Yet, the ongoing pandemic may also mean that family-based visas will not use up their full allocation in 2021 either. This portends further rollovers into the employment-based visa categories in 2022.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Seven Ways for Indians to Visit, Work, or Live in the United States

The United States of America is a nation that welcomes people from all over the world to be part of their coexistent culture. However, it can be confusing to understand the process of migrating to the country. While traveling abroad can be a great adventure in itself, it takes a great deal of preparation, planning, and form-filling before you can actually leave for the country. Here are seven ways Indians can visit, work, or even live in the US:

Apply for a US Visa and an EAD

You should have a US visa and a work permit aka Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to be employed in the States. As you delve further into the process, you’ll know that such visas have been classified into seasonal work visas, temporary work visas, exchange work visas, or even permanent work visas. You can obtain a US Visa from the US Consulate in your country.

Employment-based immigration

If you’re planning to study in the United States, apply for an F1 student visa. You should be enrolled as a full-time student at a language-training programme or an academic institute in the United States, prove your financial stability to finance your studies, and that you will maintain your identity as a foreign resident.

Apply for a green card

Formally called the United States Lawful Permanent Residency, a green card authorizes a non-immigrant to study, work, and live permanently in the States. Permanent residency becomes easier if you have a family member or are employed full-time in a company in the States. The family or employment agency in concern would be thus called your sponsor. For more information, check the USCIS website if you want to apply for an ‘adjustment of status’ if you belong to the categories mentioned.

Apply for an EB-5 visa

If you want to invest in the States, apply for an EB-5 visa to invest in a commercial project as a foreign investor. Begin by investing $50,000 in a commercial project based in the States for a duration of five years. In 18 months, you shall acquire conditional green cards that permit you and your family to study, work and live in the States. The project in question must have 10 or more American employees for a period of two years, after which you can acquire permanent resident green cards. You will get back your investment after five years from your first day in the United States.

Apply for an E-2 work visa

An E-2 work visa enables a resident from a treaty country to work in the United States; in other words, they sponsor themselves into the country. Though you invest an amount according to the company and industry, rates usually stay somewhere between $75,000 to $200,000. Moreover, spouses are permitted to work in the United States as well. Such visas can be extended for up to five years and be renewed for an indefinite number of times. If you’re lucky, you might just move forward in line for an EB-5 direct green card as well. Indians are not currently eligible for E-2 visas, but it is possible to first become a citizen of a country that is eligible. This includes Grenada in the West Indies, which is an E-2 Treaty nation to the United States.

Fiancé/Fiancée visa

The non-US fiancé/fiancée in question must apply for a K-1 non-immigrant visa to travel to the United States and marry their partner, who acts as their sponsor as well. However, the couple must get married within 90 days of arrival.

Become a lawful permanent resident

You can become a permanent US citizen only after continuously living in the States for a period of five years. Though you can make short trips overseas, you require a minimum of 30 months of continuous residency. The period will be reduced to three years instead of five if you’re in the military, or are married to a US citizen. As expected, you are required to follow the rules of the state.

These are the seven ways Indians can start a new life in the United States. If you want more information regarding the same, contact us at www.usimmigrationadvisor.com.