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BW Businessworld

‘EB-5 Is A Good Option For Students’

Exceptionally talented Indians can obtain permanent residency in the US with zero investment through the EB-1A programme

Photo Credit :

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Mark Davies, global chairman of Davies & Associates, talks to BW Businessworld’s Ashish Sinha about the significant rise in the number of Indian EB-5 filings.

Excerpts:

Q: How can the EB-5 programme help the Indian economy?
A: The EB-5 programme enables Indians to gain access to the US consumer market, which can help in their business’ growth and expansion. Through this, Indian businessmen will be able to displace “middle men” and sell directly to the US consumer and capture a higher proportion of the margin available. It can also be an excellent option for Indian students, who are looking to obtain a work experience after graduating in the US and before returning to India.

Q: Why has there been an upsurge in the number of Indian investors applying for the EB-5 visa immigration programme?
A: There has recently been a significant rise in the number of Indian EB-5 filings. While 77 EB 5-based immigrant visas were issued to Indians in 2014, during the fourth quarter of 2015 just one of our EB-5 lawyers filed 25 Indian EB-5 petitions. Currently we have EB-5 clients across major Indian cities. The limitation on Chinese EB-5 visa issuances has led Regional Centres to look to India for future investors. Since the onset of 2015, Regional Centres have been spending thousands of dollars to promote EB-5 in India. This has raised an awareness on EB-5 in India.

Q: Has the startup boom led to an increase in the number of young Indian firms investing in the US?
A: We have noticed a significant increase in the number of smaller and startup Indian businesses accessing the US markets directly. Every month, our firm assists small businesses from across India through this process. Like, our client — a Mumbai-based fashion designer — designs bespoke women’s dresses. Her customers include people like Lady Gaga. Having been previously denied an L visa using another firm our client was desperate to access the New York fashion market. Davies & Associates was able to obtain an L visa for her, along with a subsequent renewal. Our client’s success in New York has generated more work for her business in Mumbai.

Q: Do you believe Permanent Residency Status will be as beneficial for US businesses as the EB-5 has proven to be for India?
A: The EB-5 programme currently requires Indian nationals to invest $500,000 in a US business in return for which the investor is allowed to reside permanently in the US. For a minimum investment of about $50,000, an Indian business owner can relocate to the US and establish and operate a branch, subsidiary or affiliate in the US, this can eventually lead to a “green card” through the EB-1C programme. Exceptionally talented Indians can obtain permanent residency in the US with zero investment through the EB-1A programme. The Indian Permanent Residency Status programme may prove to be of less interest to smaller and mid-sized businesses owing to the significantly higher investment cost.

While the US EB-5 programme requires the creation of 10 jobs over a 2-3- year period, the Indian PRS programme requires the creation of 20 jobs each calendar year. The US L and EB-1A visa programmes have no job creation requirements.


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