Most Indian students, like any other non-US citizens considering undergraduate collegiate programmes in the United States are confronted both by the challenge of gaining admission to the college of their choice as well as the daunting task of securing immigration rights for attending as well as pursuing their post graduate plans.
In the quest for a diverse student population, most American universities encourage international admissions. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service is fairly cooperative in granting temporary student visas (F-1) that accommodate those interested to study in the US, but student’s rights are quite limited with it.
First, visitation of college campuses in advance of application is extremely precarious as one can never be sure of obtaining tourist visas to come to the US for this purpose. Second, the student visa requires evidence of financial support, but once obtained the visa precludes the foreign student from working off campus to defray college expenses.
Finally, upon graduation most students are required to return to their country of origin losing out on the opportunity for post-graduate education in the United States as well as employment possibilities in “the land of opportunity”. Unfortunately for most without some permanent resident status the American experience ends on graduation day.
But there’s a solution to this entire problem. The US Congress has passed legislation allowing a limited number of foreigners the opportunity to gain green cards for themselves and their families by investing in US enterprises creating American jobs. The programme is known as EB-5 which stands for employment based fifth preference.
By investing $500,000 in a US enterprise, applicants obtain green cards for their entire family including unmarried children under 21 entitling permanent resident status in less than 12 months from application. Typically the investment is returned to the investor within five years.
But the green cards are gained as soon as the money is invested. The EB-5 programme has a network of the foremost US based immigration professionals in helping the investor and family get their green cards processed in the most efficient manner possible.
Investors from across India have availed themselves for the Eb-5 programme. Most investors pursue the programme for the sole purpose of advancing their pre-college age children’s opportunities for study and work in the US. As children of investors must be under the age of 21 at application, planning for this programme needs to start early.
The benefits are vast. Students with green cards can come to the US whenever they like while residing in their home country for college visits or any purpose. While in school, students can work off campus, accept internships, travel freely internationally, apply for all post graduate programmes, and are much more valuable to American employers favoring foreigners eligible to stay in the US during their employment. And these are just the benefits of green card holders important to students. Green cards leading the way to American citizenship are the most sought after immigration rights in the world.
Students are increasingly opting for the EB-5 Investor visa programme instead of the H-1B as it opens a variety of opportunities for those who are aspiring to permanently relocate to the US.
One of the most pressing reasons for this is the clash between the H1-B programme and the Trump government. Also, students under this programme do not require any sponsorship from the host company; they have an edge over other international students to secure a better job. EB-5 visa allows the parent to the sponsor.
The writer is the managing director, Nysa Capital