Indian Retrogression Announcement:
DOS’s July visa bulletin announced the final action date for EB-5 for India is May 1, 2017; the filing date for India EB5 remains current.
As of July 1st, the long dreaded Indian EB5 retrogression has finally arrived, but it is only for the final action date—the filing date remains current. What does that mean? It means that Indians already in the US who have approved I-526s as of July 1st can file their I-485s, and get their employment authorizations (EADs) and their advanced paroles right away. So though they have to wait for their conditional Green Card for some time, they will receive the substantial benefits of a Green Card—ability to work and travel will be available to them right away without any significant wait whatsoever. So despite the visa bulletin for July, as far as Indians in the US are concerned, EB5 retrogression has not arrived yet.
For Indians in India, because the final action date is retrogressed by 26 months which is within the range of processing times for USCIS, retrogression is most likely immaterial—because these two times run concurrently and not sequentially. While applicants are waiting to get their I -526s approved, at the same time as waiting for the final action date, effectively almost nothing has changed.
Looking ahead, assuredly, there will be more retrogression in August and September and then likely a sharp pullback in October as next years quota becomes available. This yo-yo effect will continue until DOS gets a handle on these numbers by repeated trial and error.
What has not changed:
India is the largest EB5 market in the world accounting for approximately 55% of EB5 investments. It has tremendous market momentum, and the beginnings of an EB5 infrastructure. The Indian market will not fall into abyss with the start of retrogression. Just as China and Vietnam markets continued strong for almost two years after beginning of retrogression, so will India. Retrogression will eventually take a bite out of the Indian EB5 market, but that is 2 to 4 years away. The next 12 to 15 months will be the golden era for Indian EB5 market, with new records being set for EB5 volumes. We sense a large wave building in Indian EB5. We expect 750+ Indian EB5 investments between August 15 and September 30.
What has changed:
There will be change of ratio in Indian EB5 investments coming from Indians who are already in the US on H1B as opposed to Indians in India. Indians in India have a major problem with retrogression, because they are stuck in India even after investing the large sum. However, Indians on H1Bs are already in the US enjoying all the benefits of living and working here. Because of this differential impact of retrogression, the market will shift towards Indians in the US. While we expect the absolute numbers for all Indians will go up, proportionally more EB5s will come from Indians already in the US.
This is deja vu all over again for Indians in the US who have been waiting in line for their EB2s and EB3s. Many of those waiting in the lines delayed the filing of their EB2s or EB3s for various reasons such as changing to a better job—a 6 to 12 month delay in filing earlier in this decade ended up costing them 3 to 5 years in waiting time. The same thing is true of EB5s for Indians now—a 3 to 6 month delay in filing I-526 will increase the delay by one year or more. If just 1% or 2% of the 750,000+ Indians on H1B in the US experience deja vu, it will have a massive impact on the EB5 market.
Indians in US should learn from their EB2 & EB3 experience and get in the EB5 line fast, if they have decided to do EB5. Those pointing this fact to Indians in America are right and ethical. Those who fail to point out this crucial consideration are hurting and harming Indians in US who express a desire to do EB-5—because each day’s delay will cost them perhaps 3 days of additional waiting time.
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