The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa classification that applies to individuals who wish to perform services in a speciality occupation in the US
In a landscape where immigration routes often seem limited and complex, H-1B visa holders in the US are discovering a potential lifeline through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor programme, the US Golden Visa equivalent. As the H-1B visa faces uncertainties and challenges due to annual quotas and the need for employer sponsorship, the EB-5 programme has emerged as a promising pathway for those seeking permanent residency with the hope of living and working in the US.
What is the EB-5 programme?
The EB-5 programme is a US government immigration programme designed to stimulate the US economy through job creation and injection of foreign capital. With the rise of tech layoffs in Silicon Valley earlier this year, the EB-5 programme gained attention for its suitability to H-1B visa holders. By investing in a qualifying EB-5 project, H-1B visa holders can transition to lawful permanent residents and obtain US Green Cards for themselves and their immediate family members, including their spouse and children under the age of 21. The programme requires an investment of $800,000, which is eligible for return to the investor after approximately five years after the investment date.
What is the H-1B visa?
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa classification that applies to individuals who wish to perform services in a speciality occupation in the US. Among other requirements, an H-1B applicant must secure an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialised knowledge and a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific speciality.
The H-1B is based on a lottery system, meaning that petitioners must first submit a registration to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An H-1B petition will not be considered to be properly filed unless it is based on a valid, selected registration for the same beneficiary and the appropriate fiscal year. Given the high number of registrations in each fiscal year, the chances of being selected in the lottery system are slim.
Unlike the competitive H-1B visa lottery, EB-5 petitioners can expect a more predictable and direct route to securing a Green Card. The EB-5 programme provides H-1B holders with greater control over their immigration journey and offers the potential for a quicker pathway to permanent residency. Additionally, EB-5 petitioners are not required to secure employer sponsorship for their visa as their application is on the basis of their investment in the United States. “By virtue of applying for the EB-5 programme, H-1B visa holders no longer need to be at the mercy of their employers for sponsorship,” says Shai Zamanian, legal director of The American Legal Center, the leading EB-5 experts with their headquarters based out of Dubai.
The H-1B programme’s future has grown increasingly precarious, highlighted by a recent lawsuit involving approximately 70 Indian graduates whose H-1B visas were rejected due to fraudulent actions by their employers. According to the complaint, despite no wrongdoing on the part of these Indian graduates, their H-1B visas were denied without an opportunity to respond to the allegations. These denials highlight the uncertainty of the H-1B visa. “In contrast to the H-1B visa classification, the immigration status of EB-5 applicants is not tied to an employer. EB-5 petitioners are free to pursue their entrepreneurial ventures with their Green Card in hand,” says Shai.
In recent months, the team of US licensed lawyers and professionals at The American Legal Center have witnessed a rise in interest in the EB-5 programme from current H-1B visa holders. With over a decade of experience in the EB-5 industry and having assisted many families in this region, Shai has observed, “Demand for the EB-5 programme is increasing from H-1B visa holders because these individuals and families are no longer willing to tolerate the uncertainty of this non-immigrant visa category. For some of these people, the US is closer to being a home than their country of birth, nevertheless their ability to reside in the US is tied to their employment status and so they remain at risk of being deported if they lose their jobs.”
The EB-5 programme stands as a beacon of hope for H-1B visa holders, offering a tangible and reliable pathway towards achieving the American dream of permanent residency. Petitioners can now exercise the option of concurrent filing which provides them the ability to live and work in the US while waiting for USCIS to review their EB-5 applications. Concurrent filing is a suitable option for H-1B visa holders as they can remain in the US and continue their work while their Green Card application is being processed.
The American Legal Center team in Dubai is ready to assist individuals with their U.S. immigration goals through the EB-5 programme. You can contact their team to set up an initial complimentary consultation.