【ARCFE Blog】 WHY SHOULD INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS OPT FOR EB-5 INSTEAD OF H1B?

01/12/2022 by Grace Feng

In the 2019-2020 school year, there were more than 1,000,000 international students pursuing their degree in the U.S. The U.S. is known for being the land of opportunity and succeeding in this country is the dream of many international students. A major part of this journey surrounds the idea that they need to obtain an H1B visa. However, many might not realize the list of disadvantages of this H1B program. In this article, we want to highlight the difference between H1B and EB-5, and why EB-5 is a more practical option for international students.

What is H1B?

H1B is a non-immigrant, temporary work visa that is valid for 3 years and can be extended for another 3 years, for a total of 6 years. In order to apply for H1B, applicants must be sponsored by a U.S. company. The sponsoring company will need to file the H1B petition on behalf of the applicant to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Both the company and the applicant are required to meet certain conditions, as well as comply with the rules and requirements of the USCIS and Department of Labor (DOL). The job position requires at least a Bachelor’s degree.

H1B Process

H1B is a very popular program for international students who want to stay and work in the U.S. It is also the go-to program for U.S. employers to hire foreign nationals. The popularity of this program led to the number of applicants often exceeding the annual limit. USCIS uses a computerized visa lottery system to randomly select H1B recipients. The application process opens on April 1st of every year. 

There are about 200,000 H1B petitions filed every year. In 2020, the regular H1B has a limit of 65,000 visas, and 20,000 visas for Master’s degree holders. With this being said, even if a U.S. company sponsors you, your chances of getting the H1B visa are only about 30%. You can choose to reapply in the following year if you were not chosen this year, but your chances will still be on par with everyone else who’s also applying at the same time as you.

Hiring & Sponsoring

Finding a job in the U.S. is not particularly easy for international students. Compared to American citizens or green card holders, there are a lot more restrictions placed on international students, such as: you can only work maximum 20 hrs/week during the school year and up to 40 hrs/week during breaks, your off-campus job must directly relate to your program of studies, you must get authorizations to work, etc. And not just you, your employer who decides to hire an international student is also faced with regulations that they must comply with. Not to mention, international students might not be a long-term hiring option due to the visa situation. The company will need to keep in mind that they might need to sponsor the student if they want to keep these graduates long-term. 

It is important to point out that there are not that many companies that are willing to sponsor international students. This is due to the fact that the process is very costly but there is no guarantee of success. Rather than hiring and sponsoring an international student, these companies could take the easier route of hiring American citizens or green card holders who do not need sponsorship later on.

Lack of Option

While you are legally allowed to change employers during your H1B, the new employer will have to sponsor you H1B like the previous employer did. It is not easy to get another sponsorship for a company that you have not been working with before. With this being said, many people ended up sticking to one company during the duration of their H1B.

What is EB-5?

EB-5 is the immigrant investor program that provides qualified foreign investors and their families with the opportunity to get green cards and become permanent residents in the U.S. The EB-5 program was created in 1990 by Congress as a way to bring large inflows of foreign money into the U.S. and create new jobs for the American workforce. 

The EB-5 program helps investors and their families (spouse and unmarried children under 21) get green cards just by investing in a project for a period of time. After obtaining the green cards, the investors will have more opportunities to find a job that better suits their professional direction. 

EB-5 Regional Center Program

The EB-5 Regional Center program (EB-5 RCs) allows investors to pool investment funds together and invest in a project in the U.S. These pooled funds are managed by economic entities that are approved by the USCIS called Regional Centers. Investors typically prefer the RCs program over the direct investment program due to a variety of reasons, including job creation count, availability of TEA projects, access to industry expertise, etc.

Green Card Benefits

By investing in EB-5, the investors will be eligible to obtain a conditional green card which lasts for 2 years, and they will be eligible to apply for a permanent green card 90 days prior to their conditional green card expiration. Furthermore, they have the option to apply for citizenship five years after they receive their green card. 

There are many benefits to being green card holders:

  • Live and work in the U.S. without visa restrictions
  • You can do any job as long as it’s legal
  • You can work for any employer
  • Most employers prefer hiring green card holders or American citizens
  • Social security benefits/SSI/Medicare/etc.
  • Enjoy the same benefits as citizens (besides voting rights)
  • etc.

For your kids:

  • Free tuition K-12 
  • College tuition is a lot cheaper than the rate for international students
  • Eligible for student loans
  • etc.

Find Your American Dream With ARCFE

ARCFE is a Regional Center that was approved by the USCIS in 2013. We have successfully raised funds for 12 real estate development projects, and we have supported over 500 investors in their EB-5 journeys. We have a 100% approval rate on our I-526s. Many of our investors have received their I-829 approvals and have obtained refunds of their investment capital. Our priority is the investors’ success in achieving their American Dream of succeeding in the U.S. and enjoying the benefits that this country has to offer. 

Our projects are unique and each has its own advantages to suit the needs and preferences of different investors. Additionally, the diversity also helps investors to have choices in picking out the best project that suits them financially. ARCFE goes through a rigorous project selection process, and is strictly managed by real estate professionals with many years of experience. Our company is also very transparent in project progress reporting so investors can feel secure when investing with ARCFE. 

As a company that is immigrant built, we believe in the extraordinary talents that new generations of immigrants could bring to this country, and we want to provide an opportunity for the next generation to explore their full potential in a prosperous environment. ARCFE is ready to assist with your journey to achieve your American Dream through the EB-5 program!