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The Obama administration extended the regional centre investment EB-5 program, which entitles investors who put in $1 million into regional centre real estate projects and create at least 10 jobs in the U.S., to green cards along with their families.

Simply put, this program allows investors a fast-track to U.S. green cards and permanent residency. If investors are willing to put money into a business carried out on in a designated backward area, the investment required is even lower at $500,000, reports Economic Times.

The EB-5 program is attracting a large number of hospitality entrepreneurs from Gujarat who are keen on setting up shop in the U.S. Many of the Gujarati hotel entrepreneurs also have strong family links in the U.S.

“The falling dollar has increased the number of applications in the EB-5 category in addition to access to branded hotel deals that are trading at 30-40 percent discount. This is definitely the time to buy as the U.S. real estate market is slowly recovering,” says Sachin U Patel, Managing Principal of real estate development company American Life, which operates the EB-5 regional centres in Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett.

The regional centres are diversified funds or private business development projects that allow EB-5 investors to infuse the required funds and in return acquire a small ownership interest.

Most immigration experts are seeing a growing interest in the EB-5 category of visas. Mumbai-based Immigration Attorney Sudhir Shah says, “This is certainly a good time to apply for the EB-5 programme. There are several schemes on offer wherein you merely have to invest money and in return you get a green card without having to actively participate in the business. For those who are looking at moving to the U.S. to run a motel or store there, the reduced property prices are a big attraction too, as they can get more value for their dollar investments.”

The EB-5 scheme, though proving to be very attractive, is however not without glitches. Proving that the funds available for investment are from lawful sources can be a challenge for some Indian investors.

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