Hi, How Can We Help You?

Category Archives: Residency & Citizenship by Investment

January 12, 2024

**Navigating the New USA EB-5 Landscape: Understanding Regional Center Ownership Models**

The recent changes to the EB-5 program have brought about significant protections for investors, but caution is still advised. Understanding the ownership models of Regional Centers (RC) is crucial, as it plays a pivotal role in the success and compliance of EB-5 projects.

**1. Developer-Owned RCs:**

– Leading developers or business owners establish their RCs to raise funds for their projects. This model provides direct control but demands a deep understanding of the EB-5 process and compliance requirements.

**2. Financial Intermediaries:**

– Finance companies, commercial mortgage brokers, or broker-dealers may seek RC approval to raise funds for small to medium-sized businesses or developers. They can either establish their RC or rent an existing one.

**3. EB-5 Marketing Companies:**

– Marketing companies secure approval for multiple RCs and lease or license them to developers seeking funding. They also offer fund-raising services for smaller entities. However, this model, especially under the new regulations, presents unique challenges.

Under the revised EB-5 rules, USCIS has taken over the approval process for RCs, eliminating the involvement of state governments. The shift aims to bolster the integrity of the program. The three ownership models, particularly the third, now face heightened compliance requirements from both USCIS and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

While the first two models may navigate these changes more easily, the third model—leasing or licensing RCs—poses significant risks. Compliance requirements under the new rules demand a meticulous understanding of the EB-5 process, making it challenging for companies solely relying on RC licenses to meet these standards.

Our law office has encountered cases highlighting the unprofessional practices within this model. Educated and sophisticated investors find themselves at a loss, uncertain about their investments due to inadequate guidance from lawyers, developers, and RCs.

Industry experts share our concern, emphasizing that maintaining an RC solely for licensing may not be economically viable unless managing large or multiple projects within one RC. Recent USCIS data supports this observation, with a minimal number of RC renewals and a sparse project count.

In essence, the evolving EB-5 landscape urges investors, developers, and regional centers to exercise due diligence. Understanding the intricacies of the new regulations is vital for successful and compliant participation in the EB-5 program.

*Disclaimer: This information is not legal advice, and individuals are encouraged to seek professional counsel for their specific circumstances.*

To explore your settlement options in the USA, schedule a consultation with Indian immigration lawyer Prashant Ajmera, the founder of Ajmera Law Group. Contact us at +919974253030 or email us at info@ajmeralaw.com. Discover the pathways to your American dream with expert legal guidance.

August 8, 2023

Is it possible to make an EB-5 investment of US$ 500,000 and take
loan of US$ 300,000 to secure my US Green card?

As of March 15, 2022, the EB-5 immigrant investor program now requires a higher investment amount of US$ 800,000, which represents a 60% increase from the previous US$ 500,000. This significant rise in investment may pose challenges for many potential investors who might find it difficult to come up with such liquidity to participate in the program and invest in the USA.

However, there is a favorable development for EB-5 investors from a US court decision in November 2018. This decision allows investors to borrow money without having to provide personal collateral or pledge personal assets as security for the loan.

This can be done in two ways:

(I) Investors can seek loans from regulated financial institutions, either in the USA or anywhere in the world, that are willing to lend money with or without requiring collateral. These institutions could be banks or other licensed entities under the local regulatory authority.

(II) Alternatively, investors can receive loans from friends or relatives, which can be used for their EB-5 investment. However, it is important to note that the USCIS may request source of funds documentation from the friend or relative providing the loan.

The EB-5 immigrant investor category has three main requirements:

(i) an investment of capital,

(ii) engagement in a new commercial enterprise, and

(ii) job creation.

Several regional centers offer loans of up to US$ 300,000 without the need for collateral or security.

However, investors should exercise caution and consider the following points:

(i) Repayment terms of the loan,
(ii) Interest rates charged to the investors,
(iii) Duration of the loan,
(iv) The licensing status of the company providing the loan.

According to the USCIS regulations, gifted or borrowed funds are permissible for petitions filed on or after May 14, 2022, as long as they were given or loaned in good faith and not to circumvent limitations on permissible sources of capital, including proceeds from illegal activities.

Investors relying on such funds must demonstrate the lawful source of the funds by providing evidence for the donor or lender (if not a bank).

It is essential for investors to carefully review the loan or mortgage documents, the lender, and their source of funds, especially if the lender is not a bank.

Being thorough and compliant with USCIS regulations regarding the source of funds will help ensure a successful EB-5 investment process.

It is crucial for investors to be aware of past instances where regional centers offered similar investment structures, such as requiring a smaller investment amount with the rest in the form of a promissory note.

Around 1995, there was a case where investors followed such a structure, with a US$ 150,000 investment and US$ 350,000 in promissory notes. However, this approach was deemed unacceptable by the USCIS, resulting in the rejection of all EB-5 applications associated with it. Read more 

Additionally, as a consequence of this improper practice, two officers of the Regional Centres involved in the scheme were charged and sentenced. Furthermore, the EB-5 program itself was temporarily suspended due to these issues.

This historical example highlights the importance of adhering to the regulations and guidelines set forth by the USCIS when participating in the EB-5 program.

Investors should exercise caution and ensure that their investments and funding sources comply with the program’s requirements to avoid legal issues and /or denial of the EB5 petition.

Transparency and compliance with USCIS guidelines are crucial to ensure the success of the EB-5 investment and secure the USA Green Card with the family.

The author of this article/blog is Prashant Ajmera, an Indian immigration lawyer and the founder of Ajmera Law Group. He has been a Canadian citizen for the past 30 years and is also the author of two books: “Millionaire of the Move” and “How to Plan for Your Child’s Foreign Education: Myth vs. Reality”.  He has been assisting and advising Indian businessmen to establish businesses in Canada since 1993.  Consult us

July 25, 2022

Understanding Investing in EB-5  and different financial structures?

The pathway to USA Green Card by investment, also popularly known as the EB-5 investment visa program, is considered the easiest and safest way to obtain a Green Card. The law behind the EB-5 investor program is very simple but the creative financial structures set up by investors and related professionals make investing in EB-5 look like a very complex process.

The simple EB-5 law

  1. An EB-5 investor may make an investment of US$ 800,000 in a new commercial enterprise / new business which will create 10 new jobs provided the business is located in a rural area or high unemployment area or the project is an infrastructure project. In all other cases, the investment amount shall be US$ 1,050,000.
  2. The investment should be a business risk.
  3. The investment amount should come from a legitimate source, including earned money or a loan, or a gift.

This simple EB-5 regulation has been converted into complex financial structures, making the investment process seem very complicated for investors.

Here are the direct and indirect EB-5 investment scenarios:

Direct Investment

An investor can start on his own or partner with someone in the USA for a new business located anywhere in the USA, make an investment of US$ 1,050,000 and create 10 jobs. The investor will then qualify for a visa under the EB5 program. If this business is located in a rural area or high unemployment area, the investment amount will be US$ 800,000.

Investors who are capable of operating and managing a business may opt for this type of direct investment.

Indirect investment

In this case, several geographical areas in the USA may be combined and approval from USCIS is obtained to declare the area as a Regional Centre.

It is under this type of indirect investment, various financial structures are offered to investors for making an investment.

Here are some simple examples:

EB-5 Equity investments

A developer in the USA approaches USCIS to receive permission to declare a certain geographical area of the USA as a regional center. The developer then starts his project in this area and uses the EB-5 program to raise funds. The project will also be financed by a bank loan and the developer’s equity in the regional center as well.

In this type of project, the developer invites investors to make an investment as equity or as preferred equity partners.

Very few developers in the USA use this model. In such cases, there is one project and one developer.

EB-5 Debt model 

A company raising funds for a business or project in the USA may approach USCIS to receive permission to declare a certain geographical area of the USA as a regional center.

Once the area is declared a regional center, the company may approach developers or businesses to set up a project there.

Rather than making a direct investment in the project company, in this case, a second company is created in which EB-5 investors make an investment as equity partners. This company then gives a loan to the project company to carry forward the project. Hence this is known as the Debt model.

This is the most popular model for EB-5 investment.

It is interesting to note that US companies assisting to raise funds for US developers or businesses also undertake marketing for EB-5 projects outside of the USA to attract EB-5 investors.

In this case, too there is one project and one developer but there is also an intermediary company, such as a fundraising company and/or EB-5 marketing company.

EB-5 Fund / Mutual Fund model

A company raising funds for a business or project in the USA may approach USCIS to receive permission to declare a certain geographical area of the USA as a regional center or the company may rent a regional center from another company who has already received approval from USCIS for a regional center.

Once the area is declared a regional center, the company may approach several developers or businesses to set up a project there.

The EB-5 fund may be created for just one project or business or several projects or businesses in a regional center.

Using EB-5 funds for several projects reduces the risk by diversifying the portfolio as in the case of regular mutual funds in financial markets.

This model is used by very few companies in the USA.

To protect EB-5 investors, the US government has introduced the new EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act. Thanks to this new regulation, we may see a major shift in the EB-5 marketplace. Many companies marketing EB-5 projects or raising funds or renting regional centers may face financial viability issues due to a long list of compliance requirements.

Depending on your personal aptitude, investors may decide to invest in EB-5 to receive a USA green card.

Legal disclaimer:

This blog is written in a very simplified manner for the purpose of making investors understand the various models related to EB-5 investment. Investors are advised to consult a qualified US immigration lawyer before making any decision regarding an EB-5 investment.

For Indian investors – Investing in an EB-5 visa from India is a legal matter and as per Indian law, only Indian lawyers having expertise in the EB-5 program must be consulted. 

June 25, 2021

EB-5 Updates 20th August 2021 at 12.00 PM (IST) 

Ajmera Law Group has several direct investment options for the EB-5 program of the USA with a reduced investment of US$ 500,000.  Act fast as the rule may change at any time. 

  1. Mexican Franchise – Start in any state in the USA which meets the definition of TEA area
  2. Co-working space and daycare center based in LA, USA
  3. Burger and Hotdog restaurent in Huston, Taxas.   Please contact us for more information

EB-5 Update 10th July 2021 at 12.00 PM (IST)

EB-5 with investment on regional center is not available but direct EB-5 with investment under US$ 500,000 active and an investor can make an investment in the USA and apply for USA green card under direct EB-5.

EB-5 Updates: 25th June, 2021 at 8.00 AM (IST)

EB-5 program reauthorization just fails to pass in US Senate

A bill to establish EB-5 rules on a permanent basis has failed in the US senate and therefore the current change in EB-5 rules will expire on 30th June, 2021.

Now the US government and senate are on vacation to celebrate the 4th July holiday.

As the current EB-5 change (where the investment amount has been once again reduced to 500K) is on a temporary basis, the US Senate MAY grant an extension in July 2021 when senators are back from vacation.

This could be a great opportunity for investors to file for EB-5 with a reduced amount of investment. Serious investors must be ready with documents and investment amounts to file the EB-5 petition with a US$ 500,000 investment amount.


The investor can also borrow money to invest in EB-5.

EB-5 Update: Dated 22 June, 2021:

EB-5 Investment for US$ 500,000

Read complete the US court judgment here 

June 18, 2021

Investors traditionally invest in global financial markets primarily for – diversification of their portfolio, better returns on investment and tax planning. On the other hand, the investment made to obtain residency and/or citizenship of another country is primarily in sectors such as business/enterprise, real estate and government funds/bonds.

The most recent changes introduced in the Bulgarian Residency and Citizenship Program have changed the global investment advisory and residency by investment paradigm by offering almost all types of known financial products, real estate and enterprise as an investment vehicle for non-EU citizens who wish to obtain European residency and eventual citizenship.

The new investment routes leading to permanent residence (and eventually citizenship) of Bulgaria are as follows.

Investment asset class New investment amount in Euro
1Equity and Stocks traded in Bulgaria~EUR 1,024,000
2UCITs (EU regulated fund vehicles) including exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with a focus on Bulgaria~EUR 512,000
3Investing in any way in Alternative investment funds (AIFs) (including private equity, venture and hedge funds), a part of whose focus is on Bulgaria~EUR 512,000
4Participation in a Bulgarian company carrying on a Certified Priority Investment Project (CPIP) – this is similar to EB-5 Regional Centers of USA~EUR 1,024,000
5Participation in a Bulgarian company employing 10 Bulgarian persons or more~ EUR 257,000
6Participation in a Bulgarian private company, invested in any sector or geography~ EUR 3,075,000
7Investment in a Certified Investment Project (CIP) (this is different from CPIP above)The exact amount and conditions are project-dependent.


For option numbers 1-4, the process for citizenship can be fast-tracked by doubling the investment amount. For option number 5, the citizenship process can be fast-tracked by employing 20 people in a company in Bulgaria.

Furthermore, residency by investing in real estate options is also available. The investment amount is EUR 307,000. This is more suitable for investors who wish to move to Bulgaria and live in Europe on a long-term basis.

By investing in real estate in Bulgaria, permanent residency of Bulgaria can be obtained in 5 years’ time and citizenship in 10 years’ time

June 18, 2021

New changes to the Portugal Golden Visa Program to be implemented as of 1st January 2022.

After 10 years of grand success, the Portuguese government is set to change the investment amount for its Golden Visa Program.

This change is being implemented to attract more investment in the fields of science & technology, business and real estate in the remote and less populated areas of Portugal.

Change in conditions for real estate investment in Portugal:

For Portugal’s golden visa there is no change in the investment amount for real estate investment in Portugal. The previous current investment amounts of € 350,000 (for properties more than 30 years old or located in areas of urban renovation) and €500,000 (acquisition of real estate property of any type) will remain unchanged after 1st January 2022, but investors will not be allowed to make investments in Lisbon, Porto, and the costal and resort regions of Portugal.

After 1st January, 2022, investors can make real estate investments only in Azores, Madeira and inland regions of the country. This may result in lower rental income, and also less liquidity for investors, especially when they decide to sell the real estate.

Apart from the above two real estate investment options, there are six other investment options available to investors under the old rules. The investment amount will be increasing for some options as of 1st January, 2022.

Six different types of investments in business and financial products for Portugal Golden Visa:  

  1. Transferring capital (bank deposit) will increase from € 1 million to €1.5 million for Portugal Golden Visa;
  2. Investment in VC and other funds will increase from € 350,000 to €500,000 for Portugal Golden Visa;
  3. Investment in scientific research will increase from € 350,000 to €500,000 for Portugal Golden Visa;
  4. Investment in a new and existing business with the creation of 5 jobs will increase from € 350,000 to €500,000 for Portugal Golden Visa;
  5. Investment in funds for preservation and restoration of heritage and cultural buildings will remain at €250,000;
  6. Investment in a business that will create 10 jobs will remain at 10 jobs. There is no minimum investment amount required for this option.

The investor has time until December 2021 to avail of the advantages offered by the old rules and makes an investment. However looking to the complexity of the rules, source of funds requirements and the systematic process to be followed, the time taken to process applications will be somewhat prolonged. Hence it is advisable to start the process for this visa as soon as possible.

During these COVID times, investment in funds has become a more popular option for Portugal Golden Visa than investing in real estate for obtaining the Portuguese Golden visa.

“The rules were implemented in 2017 but it was not until 2019 that the first funds became available to make an investment in compliance with immigration rules and obtain Portugal’s Golden visa,” says Prashant Ajmera, Founder and Immigration lawyer at Ajmera Law Group.

The investment funds are a safer option as these funds are regulated by the Portuguese Securities Market Commission, also known by its initials as “CMVM”. These funds are diversified into real estate located in Lisbon and Porto area.

“The investment is very safe and secure. It also beneficial to the investors as they do not have to concern themselves with the rental and maintenance of the purchased real estate” added Mr. Ajmera.

June 17, 2021

The Golden Visa Program of UAE is the latest program to join the Residency by Investment bandwagon. Launched in May 2021, it is welcome news for many wealthy expatriates living in the UAE and outside of it. These expatriates, with plans to secure permanent residency in the United Arab Emirates, have been eagerly waiting for such a program to be introduced by the UAE government.

This program will offer a lot of flexibility, freedom, and security to investors, especially those living in the UAE, who previously had to adhere to very stringent do’s and don’ts when it came to doing business in the UAE.

The Golden Visa Program essentially grants people who fall into the following categories long-term residency (5 to 10 years): Investors, Entrepreneurs, Individuals with exceptional talents such as researchers, Medical Professionals, and those in the scientific and knowledge fields, and exceptional students.

The greatest advantage would most likely be security; by issuing the Golden Visa, the UAE government has demonstrated its commitment to offering expatriates, investors, and virtually anyone wishing to make the UAE their home with an additional reason to feel comfortable about their future.

Eligibility for a 10-year visa:

The following categories are entitled to apply for a 10-year residence visa in the UAE.

1. Investors in public investments of at least AED 10 million

The investment may take many forms such as:

  • A deposit of at least AED 10 million in an investment fund inside the country
  • Establishing a company in the UAE with a capital of not less than AED 10 million
  • Partnering in an existing or a new company with a share value of not less than AED10 million
  • Having a total investment of not less than AED 10 million in all areas mentioned, on condition that the investment in sectors other than real estate is not less than 60 percent of the total investment.

Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

  • The amount invested must not be loaned.
  • The investment should be retained for at least three years.
  • There should be financial solvency up to AED 10 million.

Visa can be extended to include business partners, on the condition that each partner contributes AED 10 million.

The long-term visa can include the spouse and children, as well as one executive director and one advisor.

Investors from abroad may apply for a multiple-entry permit for a six-month period.

2. Persons with specialized talents

This includes specialized talents and researchers in the fields of science and knowledge such as doctors, specialists, scientists, inventors, as well as creative individuals in the field of culture and art. The visa advantage extends to the spouse and children. All categories are required to have a valid employment contract in a specialized field of priority in the UAE.


Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

  • Scientists must be accredited by Emirates Scientists Council or holders of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence.
  • Creative individuals in culture and art must be accredited by the Ministry of Culture and Youth.
  • Inventors must obtain a patent of value, which adds to the UAE’s economy. Patents must be approved by Ministry of Economy.
  • Exceptional talents must be documented by patents or scientific research published in a world-class journal.
  • Executives must be owners of a leading and internationally recognized company or holders of high academic achievement and position.
  • Doctors and specialists must meet at least two of the following conditions:
  • A Ph. D. degree from one of the top 500 universities in the world (refer to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship website for information)
  • An award or certificates of appreciation in the field of the applicant’s work
  • Contribution to major scientific research in the respective field of work
  • Published articles or scientific books in distinguished publications in the respective field of work
  • Membership in an organization related to the field
  • A Ph.D. degree, in addition to 10-year professional experience in his/her field
  • Specialization in areas of priority to the UAE

Eligibility for a 5-year visa

The following categories are entitled to apply for a 5-year residence visa in the UAE

1. Investors in a property in the UAE


Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

  • The investor must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than AED 5 million.
  • The amount invested in real estate must not be on a loan basis.
  • The property must be retained for at least three years.

2. Entrepreneurs

This category includes those having an existing project with a minimum capital of AED 500,000, or those who have the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country.

The entrepreneur is allowed a multi-entry visa for six months, renewable for another six months. The long-term visa includes the spouse and children, a partner, and three executives.

3. Outstanding Students

This includes:

  • Outstanding students with a minimum grade of 95 percent in public and private secondary schools
  • University students within and outside the country having a distinction GPA of at least 3.75 upon graduation.

The long-term visa includes families of outstanding students.

Program benefits

  • Foreign nationals can live, work, conduct business, and study in the UAE without the need for a national sponsor under the Golden Visa Program
  • Foreign entrepreneurs and investors are also permitted to own 100% of their businesses in the UAE
  • These visas will be issued for a time period of 5 or 10 years and will be renewed automatically
  • Investors can enjoy a very high quality of life in UAE
  • Due to its strategic location in the Middle East, UAE is extremely well connected to all major cities and business hubs in Asia, Europe and North America, making it very easy for investors to travel and conduct or expand their business

This article is contributed by Ms. Dishita Sheth, Intern at Ajmera Law Group

June 7, 2021

The rise in bank frauds and other economic offenses have attracted the attention of local and global media towards India. Lately, many fugitive economic offenders have been in the news, and thanks to them, we all now know where the tiny Caribbean islands of Antigua & Barbuda and Dominica are located on the world map!

As of today, the Indian government and its enforcement agencies are looking for more than 300 such offenders who have escaped from India. For the past few months, we have been constantly reading and hearing about a few ‘celebrity economic offenders’ in every Indian media. After spending crores of rupees and almost a week in Dominica, a private jet sent by the Indian government has returned back home with government top brass but without Mr. Mehul Choksi. Another Indian legal team is fighting in a London court to repatriate Mr. Nirav Modi and Mr. Vijay Maliya.

The scale of economic offenses in India and the way they are being handled have made India a hotbed for global agents and companies who assist such runaway criminals to obtain citizenship in another country.  These companies operate in India as a legitimate business but they are infamous globally for such activities. The fact they are operating in India openly makes one wonder why the Indian government and its allied agencies are not restricting their activities. In fact, to a common man, it seems as if the Indian government has spread a red carpet for such foreign companies to operate in India.

In 1975, when economic liberalization had started in the UAE and the Middle East, a large number of Indian laborers and workers were recruited to work in these countries. The agents and intermediaries in India often took advantage of these workers, who were poor and desperate to earn money. We have heard many horror stories about such frauds and scams during this time.

Finally, in 1983, the Migration Act was introduced by the Indian government which required foreign recruitment agencies and foreign employers to register with the Indian government if they wished to recruit manpower from India. Thanks to this Act, we now see a lesser number of foreign job frauds being reported in India. Originally this act was managed by the Ministry of Labour, but now it is managed by the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India.

Coming back to the present scenario, if the Indian government does act decisively, history will repeat itself. The problem is two-fold:

  1. Indian citizens are likely to become victims of global economic fraud perpetrated by foreign companies (financial and real estate sector) who target wealthy Indian investors. The work of such foreign companies is made easier by a lack of government control.
  2. There are many global companies, agents, and consultants who assist Indian economic offenders and criminals to escape from India. At present many such foreign companies have entered and are operating a business in India because there is no law that stipulates that they need a license or permit to open an office and conduct business in India.

Foreign companies and agencies started developing an interest in the Indian market when the Indian government opened its doors for outbound investment in 2008 under the Overseas Direct Investment (ODI) for Indian entities and under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS) for Indian citizens.

As per RBI data, up until now US$ 60-80 billion has been remitted or invested outside of India under each of the aforementioned schemes in the last 12 years. This makes India a very attractive destination for foreign government agencies and companies who wish to lure Indian companies and wealthy Indian citizens to make an investment in their country or investment products.

Under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), there are a series of RBI regulations, master circulars, and clarifications that specify how Indian companies can invest abroad or how Indian citizens can remit or invest money outside of India.

On the other end, there is no regulation under FEMA, or any other known regulation or act in India for that matter, to test the legitimacy of the foreign company or investment product in which Indian companies or Indian citizens make investments. These foreign entities are also not required to register with any Indian government agency or department.

Many legitimate foreign investment companies are surprised that they can come to India and offer their investment product (financial or real estate) without having to register with any Indian authority.

Let us see some examples that prove how easy things are for foreign companies as compared to indigenous companies/individuals:

  • Indian real estate developers and brokers/agents must register under RERA but foreign real estate developers and brokers do not need to register with any Indian government authority to market their real estate project in India. As per the RBI, Indian citizens invested almost US$ 86.4 million (Rs. 650 Cr.) in global real estate in the year 2019-20.
  • Indian companies and entities offering financial products and financial advice must register with the Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). However, foreign companies and financial advisors can come to India, open an office and offer their products/services to Indian citizens without any kind of registration or obtaining any kind of permit from an Indian authority. As per the RBI data, Indian citizens invested US$ 1054.78 million (Rs. 7910 Cr.) outside of India in global equities and deposits in the year 2019-20. It is estimated that this number will jump significantly in the current year.
  • Indian education institutes that wish to recruit Indian students in India must register with several government entities. On the other hand, foreign education institutes can enter the Indian market, appoint agents and recruit students from India for study in their respective country without any governmental interference. This apathy and lack of any regulatory body that oversees the operation of such foreign entities in India has resulted in widespread student recruitment scams and the proliferation of fraudulent education institutions in countries like America, Canada, and Russia.

As per the RBI data, in the year 2019-20 Indian parents remitted US$ 4989.04 (Rs. 373,178 Cr.) in foreign education fees for their children studying abroad. Additionally, US$ 5341.99 (Rs. 400,649 Cr.) was remitted for living expenses and as a gift.

Though such a large industry exists in India for foreign student recruitment, neither the student visa agents and consultants nor the recruiting foreign education institutions are regulated in India by the government.

In the year 2017, a major fraud was reported that involved an American university. Hundreds of Indian students were affected and their career and future were ruined by this scam. At that time, the External Affairs Minister, Late Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, was shocked to see the condition of the Indian students and she tried her best to revise the Migration Act. However, due to her untimely death, this Emigration Bill of 2019 is still pending with the Ministry of External Affairs.

Further irony concerning this matter is that the Indian government and all major Indian banks now offer bank loans to Indian students for foreign education with basic documentation. However, these same banks and financial institutions will ask for a pile of documents if an Indian citizen wants to make an investment in the U.S. or global stock market which is highly regulated.

  • There is no licensing and regulatory body in the immigration and visa industry in India. This has allowed foreign immigration law firms and visa consulting firms to enter the Indian market by simply registering a company in India, hiring Indian staff members, and renting a physical/virtual office in India. To attract their target audience, these companies regularly release advertisements or press notes in the Indian media and highlight how many Indian HNIs, and UHNIs have left India. These reports are based on vague estimations and serve no purpose other than inciting readers to have a go at a chance to immigrate to a foreign country.


A number of foreign immigration law firms continue to operate in India even after the Supreme Court of India’s ruling that foreign lawyers cannot practice law in India, nor can they open an office in India or make frequent visits to India to meet Indian clients. Based on this judgment, RBI issued a notification directing Indian financial institutions and banks to refrain from opening an account for such foreign law firms. However, the reality is totally different. Many foreign law firms are still operating freely in India. A remote-controlled company operation, which is allowed in India, could be an ideal place for global illegitimate operators.

Many global consulting firms representing governments of small countries and independent islands are also operating in India. These firms acting as marketing agents for these small countries that offer residency and/or citizenship by investment (RCI) programs. Paid by foreign governments, these consulting firms pitch the RCI programs in India on behalf of the foreign governments.

Mr. Mehul Choksi had obtained the citizenship of Antigua & Barbuda by investing a sizeable amount of money in the tiny Caribbean island of Antigua & Barbuda just a few months before the PNB scandal broke in India.

Invest above amount and receive a second passport in few months!!!

Many high-profile Indian celebrities and prominent individuals have obtained citizenship or residency in foreign countries.  Very recently a famous Bollywood star was in the news for having been granted residency in a Middle East country.

All these particular service industries are open-ended and highly unregulated in India. Unless and until the Indian government seriously acts to close the loopholes, an increasing number of economic offenders will run away from India. Private jets (funded by hard-working taxpayers’ money) will then have to be sent to bring them back to India to face justice.  

June 6, 2021
Visa TypeExplanation
(1) Visitor visa, B1/B2 visa (USA), F1 visa (USA), Student visa, Study permit(1) This class of visa is known as a ‘Non-immigrant visa’ or Temporary visa. This is for purposes such as tourism, business meeting, attending conference/exhibition, meeting relatives, etc. This visa does not give the visa holder a right to stay in the visa issuing country on a permanent basis. This visa is issued to applicants who are unlikely to be future immigrants. The applicant travels on the passport of his/her country of citizenship with the temporary visa of the respective country stamped on it.
(2) Work permit (Canada), H1 visa (USA), Employment authorisation, Work authorisation, Work visa(2) A work permit is issued to a person who has a job offer from a foreign company or sponsor. This visa allows the applicant to live and work in the country that has issued this visa. This is again a temporary visa and applicant is expected to return back to his/her home country upon the expiration of the visa.

The applicant cannot apply for this type of visa on his/her own. In most western countries, when a company/employer wishes to hire a foreigner for a job, they need to demonstrate that there is a shortage of workers suitable for that particular job/work in the country or that they cannot find a suitable person who meets the skill ability/experience/ education that the particular job demands in their own country and hence they wish to hire a worker from abroad. However, in the Middle East this type of requirement is not mandatory and companies/employers can hire foreign workers. From labour jobs to white collar jobs, hiring from outside is country is permitted. This is because they have acute shortage of labour, especially skilled labour force. Most Indians living in Middle East have this visa stamped on their passport. Even people doing business in these countries are required to be sponsored by their own company. The applicant travels on the passport of his/her country of citizenship with the work visa of the respective country stamped on it.

(3) Green Card (USA), Permanent Migration (Oz), Permanent Residency (Canada), Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR-UK), Golden Visa (Europe)(3) This visa gives the applicants the right to live in a foreign country on a permanent basis provided they meet the renewal requirements. The visa is issued to the following persons: (i) Skilled workers – If they have been sponsored by a company or person (as in case of Family Class in USA) on a permanent basis. In countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, applicants can apply to reside permanently in these countries without sponsorship. They are selected as immigrants based on their age, education, language skills and work experience.

(ii) Businesspersons and investors – Applicants who wish to do business and /or invest in a foreign country can apply to become a permanent resident either by starting a business, investing in a business or making some sort of investment in the foreign country as stipulated by the said country’s government. This category is also popularly known as Residency and Citizenship by Investment or Second Passport. (iii) Spouse – Under the marriage class, spouses can obtain the right to live permanently in a foreign country if their spouse is a permanent resident or citizen of that country (iv) Refugees – Persons who have sought asylum in a particular foreign country can apply to stay in that country permanently under the asylum law. The applicant travels on the passport of his/her country of citizenship with the permanent resident visa of the respective country stamped on it.

(4) Citizenship(4) If an applicant has shown his/her commitment to stay permanently in a foreign country over a period of 3,5, 7 or 10 years (time period depends on the citizenship laws of the country), they can apply to become a citizen of that country. Indian citizens cannot hold dual citizenship under Article 9 of the Indian Constitution. In the event an Indian citizen receives citizenship of another country, he/she will lose the Citizenship of India. When an Indian citizen holds foreign citizenship and foreign passport, he/she will be required to apply for a visa to visit India unless he/she has been issued an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card.
(5) OCI card holder(5) In general, the OCI card is issued to individuals who are Indian citizens by birth and their children who are now citizens of another county either by naturalisation or by birth. Foreign spouses of Indian citizens may also qualify for an OCI card.


(6) Non Resident Indian (NRI)(6) In general terms, NRI means a person who is an Indian citizen and now living in a foreign country for an extended period of time. However, as per the Indian taxation law, ‘any Indian citizen who is staying out of India in any assessment year for more than 182 days is a Non-resident Indian for tax purposes. Click here
(7) Countries which offer direct citizenship to Indian citizens(7) The countries which offer direct citizenship to Indian citizens are – Turkey, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Malta, Montenegro, Vanuatu, Bulgaria
(8) Countries which do NOT offer citizenship to citizens of any country(8) UAE and most Middle East countries, Saudi Arabia, Vatican City, North Korea, Liechtenstein, Bhutan, China, Austria, San Marino, Japan, Germany, etc., are some of the countries that do not offer citizenship to citizens of foreign countries. These countries may allow foreign citizens to study and work in their countries but do not allow them to become citizens of their country.
9) Countries which offer citizenship after granting permanent residency(9) USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Portugal, Malta, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Latvia, Cyprus and many European countries first grant permanent residency to foreign citizens and then citizenship if they fulfil the conditions stipulated in their citizenship laws.


June 1, 2021

The New Zealand government has announced the formation of an inquiry commission to examine the country’s working-age immigration policy, including analysing the skilled migrant visa category and making recommendations on how to enhance investment immigration.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said, “This inquiry will enable New Zealand to strategically optimise its immigration settings by taking a system-wide view, including the impact of immigration on the labour market, housing and associated infrastructure, and the natural environment.”

The commission’s mandate includes looking into the effects of rising net migration on housing markets, social cohesion, and the global ecosystems, as well as exchange rates and GDP growth. It will also analyse how the country can address potential labour and skill shortages, as well as whether migrants’ skills are aligned with job opportunities in New Zealand.

The inquiry body will emphasise on “how to attract and gain from investor migrants and entrepreneurial migrants whose expertise, experience, resources, and international ties will help New Zealand’s economic and social development, including through the creation of new businesses, and improving New Zealand’s reach into higher-value industries.”

Other questions the commission will address include whether the perceptions that domestic workers’ jobs are being taken over by migrant workers, especially in the low-skilled category, are accurate or not. Student visas as a pathway to permanent residence would also be scrutinised and closely watched.

Before the deadline of April 30, 2022, the Productivity Commission must present its findings.

In a statement, the Productivity Commission’s Ganesh Nana said, “The Commission looks forward to working alongside Maori and Pacific communities, migrant and ethnic communities, relevant government agencies, skills organisations, partners (the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Te Kauae Kaimahi and Business New Zealand), and many others.”

This article is contributed by Ms. Dishita Sheth, Intern at Ajmera Law Group