The Trump administration recently brought some significant changes to their Visa policies, especially those concerning H-1B and H-4 visa holders. This has made life difficult not just for those who are looking to secure a Visa to America but also for those who are already living there.
The H-1B Visa is used by employers in the U.S. to hire immigrant professionals for a limited period of time. The new changes brought in the U.S. Government has made it increasingly difficult for foreign professionals to secure the Visa, reported Quartz.
Impact on Indian population in US
The H-4 Visa which provided entry to the dependents of the professionals, with the new changes, prevents them from seeking employment. These changes are still a proposal and finalised yet. Considering that 80% of the 125,000 H-4 Visas issued last year were to Indian Passport Holders this has had a big impact on the Indian population residing in the U.S.
These changes have also affected students looking for opportunities in America. It does not come as a surprise that many students and working professionals are now seeking opportunities elsewhere.
But those who have their eyes set on the American Dream are looking for alternative approaches to securing the now elusive American Visa. One alternative which has seen an immense increase in the past year is the EB-5 Visa, reported The Times of India.
To secure an EB-5 Visa the applicant is required to invest in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. to the tune of $500,000 to $1 million. Unlike the H-1B, the EB-5 Visa acts as a direct route to permanent citizenship in the U.S. for an investor along with her/his spouse and children under the age of 21. It also entails the benefit of working and living anywhere within the U.S. for the investor and her/his immediate family, along with almost all the other benefits of a permanent U.S. citizenship.
This flexibility and range of benefits along with a relatively easier application processing has seen many more Indian nationals applying for the EB-5 Visa last year. The 585 Visas issued in 2018 is a huge increase compared to the 161 issued in 2016. The number of Indians applying for the Visa has also increased with Indians accounting for 10% of the total applications filed in 2018.
The number of applications that are pending is big enough to ensure that there is a waiting time of 18-30 months before any new application is processed. It is predicted to increase to a few years by the time applications for 2019 are filed. Even then the interest in this ‘new’ way of acquiring the U.S. citizenship seems to be on the rise, as anyone who can afford it is trying to ‘buy’ her/his way into America.