Charles Oppenheim, in his April 2022 IIUSA presentation, estimated over 7,400 Indian applicants are lined up for EB-5 visas as of November 2021. EB-5 processing expert Suzanne Lazicki declares, “That confirms an over-10-year backlog has already built up for India (given about 700 annual visas available to Indians).”
Lazicki explains that the Visa Bulletin has not reflected the Indian oversubscription yet only because most of the Indian backlog is stuck in slow I-526 processing, and is not yet at the visa stage.
“Indian applicants with pending I-526 face certain visa number waits once they finally do reach the visa stage, unless (1) they have priority dates before 2018, or (2) they contrive to obtain I-526 approval and be positioned to claim a visa number in advance of the crowd of other Indian applicants with earlier priority dates,” advises Lazicki.
The new EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 has visa set-asides that offer a separate line-up and immediately available visas for all investors, including investors from retrogressed countries. 20% of visas are reserved for rural investors; 10% are reserved for investors who make an investment in a qualified high-unemployment area; 2% of visas are reserved for investors who invest in infrastructure projects.
A reserved visa offers Indian investors an opportunity to bypass the possible 10-year backlog we expect they will soon be facing. It also allows Chinese investors to avoid their visa backlog, and will likely be the case for Vietnamese investors soon as well.