December 10, 2023

Business Visa

The Business Visa Is Mightier Than Sword

What is America’s EB-5 visa and can it help fired H1-B visa holders?

The mass layoffs across the Silicon Valley tech giants have put Indian techies at risk of deportation. Many reports claim that EB-5 visas could help these immigrants continue their stay in the US. But, how relevant and practical are EB-5 visas for Indians living in the US?

The H1-B problem

An H1-B visa, better known as a work visa, is sponsored by an employer in the US. In case an immigrant’s employment is terminated, they need to find a new employer within 60 days to sponsor their H1-B visa or they risk getting deported from the country. 

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The recent layoffs have put Indian immigrants at the highest risk of deportation because a major chunk of Indians working in Silicon Valley had an H1-B visa. A report by the US Department of Homeland Security shows that 74.1 per cent of H-1B visas approved in the fiscal year 2021 were granted to Indians, as opposed to 74.9 per cent in 2020.

What is the EB-5 visa?

As per the US Immigration Act of 1990, the EB-5 visa provides eligible immigrants to become lawful permanent residents in the US by investing a significant amount of capital in a business that will employ at least 10 American workers. 

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According to the EB‐5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, immigrants can qualify for an EB-5 visa by investing a minimum of $1,050,000 in the country. 

Furthermore, the investment required can be reduced to $800,000 if the investment is made in a qualifying infrastructure project or targeted employment area (TEA). The TEA refers to a rural area or area with a high unemployment rate.

How practical is the EB-5 visa for Indian immigrants?

Despite the relatively less complicated eligibility criteria for an EB-5 visa, Indian immigrants Business Today spoke to do not think EB-5 is a practical choice for them. 

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Kreshna Pathak, an entrepreneur and a student at Harvard Business School, told Business Today, “$1.05 million investment is not practical for most Indian immigrants. They are themselves seeking jobs and a decent quality of life in the US. H-1B is called a work visa for a reason, it is suited for immigrants that want to work in the country. ”

Similar views were echoed by Priyanshi Somani, a graduate student in Massachusetts. “If I want to continue my stay in the US, it is obvious I would apply for an H-1B and not an EB-5. I don’t have a million dollars, but I can sure make that money if I get an opportunity in the US. ”

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