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US visa programme puts immigration consultants on overdrive

Vijay C Roy/New Delhi/ Chandigarh 25 Oct 12 | 12:54 AM

The US’s recent extension of the EB-5 programme for immigrant investors till September has motivated immigrations consultants to swing into action. The consultants are trying to reach out potential investors by expanding their operations by appointing new associates and organising awareness seminars.

Consultants say EB-5 visa process is hassle-free for businesspersons, farmers and professionals. It has an an investment potential of up to $500,000, not a very large sum for potential investors who willingly pay huge amounts to move abroad.

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Moreover, a student applying to an institute under the EB-5 programme could save tuition fees to the tune of 50 per cent for a four-year programme.

According to Sukhjit Singh Anand, chairman of Delhi-based Calculus Group, the US government is looking for 10,000 immigrants per year under the programme to help generate around $5 billion in investments, which would go into developing the rural areas of the country, which in turn would also help generate more employment opportunities for US citizens.

Anand added, "We have decided to promote the EB-5 visa programme in Punjab and Gujarat to educate and guide potential investors through the investment and green card processes, maximising their chances of receiving the EB-5 visa."

He said that this was the easiest, cheapest and the most effective programme so far for immigration to the US.

The Calculus Group has entered into a tie-up with the American government’s designated regional centre, American Life. A regional centre is an area designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as eligible to receive immigrant investor capital. He added that American Life has so far helped 1,400 immigrant investors get the US Green Card for their families.

Punjab-based Worldwide Immigration Consultancy Services (WWICS), engaged in immigration consultancy services, is aggressively targeting the potential customers by creating awareness through seminars. B S Sandhu, chief managing director, WWICS, said, " We are getting 15-20 applicants every month from across India with the opening of new regional centres and the extension of the EB-5 visas programme. So far we have conducted several seminars across India to create awareness among the masses, whom we are aggressively targeting. We are also planning to showcase some success stories by inviting people who went to the Uson the EB-5 visa and are now well settled.’

Anand said that according to USCIS statistics for 2011, the number of visas issued for China was the highest at 2,408, whereas it was only 37for India, mainly because of the lack of awareness about the programme.

According to new new statistics from the USCIS, the total number of visas issued under the programme was 3,706 in FY 2011 as against 1,885 in FY2010, with the number already touching 2,364 till January 2012.

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