What is an EB -5 Vis and how is it different from HB1 visa?

July 31, 2023 | | USA Visa |

Amid layoffs, hundreds of immigrants have been left at risk of deportation from the US. Under rules of the H1-B visa, which is also called the work visa, immigrants are required to find a new employer within 60 days of their tersmination from a job. If they are unable to do so, the US government can deport them to their home country.

The key purpose for this is that under the H1-B visa, the employer is the sponsor of the immigrant. If they are laid off, the immigrants lose the legal backing to stay in the US. This is more likely to impact Indians more than other nationals as they are by far the biggest beneficiaries of the visa under the H1-B scheme.

According to Layoffs.fyi, in 2023 alone 103,767 people have been laid off internationally. The recent reports, however, show that the EB-5 visa is emerging as an alternative for immigrants.

What is an EB-5 visa?

Under the US Immigration Act, 1990, the EB-5 visa allows eligible immigrants to become lawful permanent residents in the US by making an investment of a particular amount of capital in a business that will employ at least 10 American workers. It is also known as an “immigration-by-investment” visa.

The immigrants can be qualified for an EB-5 visa if they invest a minimum of $1,050,000 in the US. This can be reduced to $800,000 if the investment is made in a qualifying infrastructure project or targeted employment area (TEA). The TEA is an area with a high unemployment rate or a rural area.

The investment to employ at least 10 Americans need not be made into one’s own business. Immigrants can also invest in the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)-designated Regional Center that pools EB-5 investments into qualifying, job-creating projects.

How is the EB-5 different from an H1-B visa?

H1-B visa requires an immigrant to stay in the US for a minimum of 6 years before granting them citizenship. Under the EB-5 visa, there is no such requirement.

H1-B visa requires a sponsor for the immigrant. No such sponsorship is needed in the EB-5 scheme.

H1-B visa is only given if a company in the US has employed the immigrant. Under EB-5, there are no educational or professional qualifications.

EB-5 is more flexible as investors can live and work, anywhere in the US. They do not have to live by their investment or be involved in the day-to-day management of their investment.

An investor’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can all qualify for green cards under the EB-5 investor’s application. This does not hold true in H1-B visas.

Every year, 10,000 EB-5 visas are allocated for immigrants and their dependent family members.