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Rich Indians worry as ‘dollar’ visa set to end [IR]
The United States of America’s EB-5 Programme, labelled as the ‘Green Card for greenback’ scheme, has been attracting attention, including from India, of late.
Many high net worth individuals world over are worried as the controversial immigrant visa programme for the wealthy is set to expire this month-end.
The programme grants rich entrepreneurs — as well as their spouses and unmarried children below the age of 21 — an opportunity to bag the coveted U.S. Green Card (or status of permanent residence) and Citizenship.
All they have to do is invest in just over half a million dollars in U.S. and ensure that the funds help generate at least ten full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
The visa, given in exchange for investments, grants the holder a conditional permanent residence status.
After two years, conditions may be removed, when it becomes permanent green card that can lead to citizenship, provided it resulted in creation of 10 jobs.
The programme is named EB-5 as it is the fifth preference category under the Employment-Based (EB) immigration visas.
The EB-5 programme was created in 1990 with the approval of the US Congress — America’s highest law-making body. It aims to boost the American economy by attracting investment from foreign nationals & generating employment for locals.
In 1992, its scope was widened through an Immigrant Investor Programme, or the Regional Centre Programme.
Regional Centres are certain designated organisations permitted to collect money from overseas investors seeking the EB-5 visas, and then pump such foreign investment (which is usually much cheaper than other forms of funds including bank credit) into officially approved projects.
In order to be considered for permanent residency status in the U.S., the Programme mandates a qualified foreign investor to invest at least $1 million — or a minimum of $500,000 if the investment is made in certain rural areas or regions with high unemployment — and show that ten or more full-time positions were generated or preserved directly or indirectly as a result of that investment.
In backdrop of allegations of fraud and corruption — including against Indianorigin individuals — related to it, the U.S. Congress will soon have to consider whether to renew it or to pay heed to growing criticism and wind it up altogether.