EB-5 Visa as an Alternative to H-1B: The Ideal Solution Amidst Amazon and Google Suspending Green Card Applications and Tech Layoffs

July 3, 2024
EB-5 Visa as an Alternative to H-1B

Mass layoffs at Amazon and Google, along with ceasing the green card processes, have also added to the future doubts of H-1B and F-1 visa holders. These have shown the dangers involved in employer-sponsored visas, especially during general economic trends. In this context, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Programme stands out as a viable and sustainable solution to create an independent ticket for investors to obtain permanent resident status in the United States of America.

The Question of the Cessation of Green Card Applications

While Amazon and Google have reported freezing or slowing their GPC green cards, many GPE applications face increased application submissions, processing challenges, and restructuring in the tech industry. The suspension order states that Amazon shall not be allowed to sell online in France until the end of 2024, while Google will not be permitted to sell online until Q1 2025. This decision has affected thousands of foreign workers who were hoping to use the big tech companies to get green cards.

Some of the challenges that H-1B visa holders are faced with are:

The H-1B visa programme, while essential for attracting global talent, has several limitations:
Annual Caps: There are annual quotas set for the programme, which brings a limitation to the number of qualified workers that are able to get an opportunity to work in the US.
Employer Dependence: H-1B visa holders are accompanied by a condition that, if they lose their job, their visa can also be revoked.
Processing Delays: The long processing time for the H-1B visa application and subsequent green card further increases these risks.
Job Insecurity: Recent downsizings have demonstrated that the H-1B visa-holder population is especially vulnerable because their legal status is tied to their job.

Why the EB-5 Visa?

The EB-5 visa programme has a clear and tolerant route to obtaining legal permanent resident status in the United States through investment. Especially in today’s global economic instability, it offers freedom from employer-sponsored visas.

Investment Requirements
In order to get an EB-5 visa, one needs to invest not less than $800,000 in a new business within the territory of the United States of America. This investment must provide or maintain a minimum of 10 full-time jobs for qualifying US workers within 2 years of the investor’s admission as a conditional permanent resident.

A lifeline for H-1B workers who are fired and the F-1 visa holders who want job security.

Direct Path to Green Card: Unlike the H-1B visa, which is a temporary visa accompanied by such trials as annually limited quotas and lotterization of selection, the EB-5 visa provides a direct path to receiving an immigrant visa, also known as a Green Card. This important advantage eliminates the requirement for employer sponsorship and grants the applicants themselves more control over their immigration and future residence status, giving them a sense of security and stability.

Educational and Career Opportunities: The EB-5 investor’s family also receives all the rights of a Green Card holder or a legal alien, some of which include in-state tuition for education—a factor considered economically advantageous. In addition, they are not tied to a specific geographic area and can reside and work anywhere in the United States, which presents significant advantages over the limitations of H-1B or F-1 visas.

Permanent Residency: The programme provides permanent residents to investors and their immediate families, which is a crucial step towards the attainment of U.S. citizenship if interested.

No Sponsorship Required: The freedom from employer linkage with the EB-5 visa is especially beneficial for H-1B holders who want to begin a company in the United States or do not wish to be bound to one employer.
Inclusion of Family and Prevention of Ageing Out for Children: It also solves one of the major issues that H-1B applicants face, where children are often referred to as ‘ageing out,’ the option of not being issued a visa anymore by the time they reach 21 years of age.

Some of the methods that can help simplify the process are concurrent filing.

From F-1/H-1B status, the EB-5 programme does enable the possibility to file Form I-485 concurrently with respect to Form I-526, so the overall process of attaining a Green Card will generally progress more quickly.

Employment and Travel Authorization: While waiting for the EB-5 petition’s pending period, applicants can apply for an EAD card and get approval for travelling abroad while keeping their legal status intact.

Process of Converting from an F-1 to an EB-5: Some of the steps that the applicants undergo in the process of transitioning from the F-1 to the EB-5 include investment in the project, I-526 Petition, as well as concurrent filing of I-485 where applicable. This is followed by the process of receiving conditional permanent residency, which actually makes it permanent conditional on the satisfaction of other terms through the I-829 Petition.

EB-5 Consultants and Attorneys: The Critical Actors in the Programme

Ms. Grenier explains that the everyday functioning of the EB-5 programme implies compliance with certain legal rules and needs proper planning. Potential investors are encouraged to seek advice from experienced immigration attorneys and consultants who are accredited by the EB-5 program. These specialists can also give useful aid in observing all the legal regulations, choosing proper business investments, and reaching immigration success.

A Reliable Alternative

H-1B is a temporary work visa, which many international managers and employees did not get in the lottery or need an EB-5 visa instead of F-1 visas for stability. Through this programme, a guaranteed future in the US is provided for, as well as supporting the economy by offering employment opportunities.

It is therefore advisable for prospective investors to seek legal advice from immigration lawyers and EB-5 consultants so as to get the process right, hence fulfilling the ‘American dream.’ In light of the suspension of green card designation, as seen in the case of Amazon and Google, the EB-5 visa programme is a stable option for foreign workers with risks involved in the technology market for obtaining a permanent green card.

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