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Trump Administration Places Delay on Entrepreneur Visa

The Trump administration delayed the International Entrepreneur Rule, raising questions about the entrepreneur visa and it's future.

The new rule, which would have allowed entrepreneurs to come to the United States on an "entrepreneur visa," which in effect is really a visa waiver, was to take effect on July 17. The rule was designed to “increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the United States.” However, just days before it would have kicked off, the Trump administration pushed its effective date back to March 2018 - supposedly to allow comments on a proposal to eliminate the rule.

The Entrepreneur Visa

The International Entrepreneur Rule provided for an alternative to start-up visas for foreign entrepreneurs who could offer a “significant public benefit” to the United States. Entrance to the U.S. would have been granted case-by-case on a parole basis, with entrepreneurs required to demonstrate this benefit. One of the key factors to be considered in determining “significant public benefit” was whether experienced, successful U.S. investors or certain government entities had chosen to invest in the start-up enterprise.

Here’s why the entrepreneur visa would be beneficial to the United States:

  1. Only those entrepreneurs with sufficient financial support from within the United States and other evidence demonstrating the value of their businesses and their leadership of those businesses would have been admitted to the U.S. under this program
  2. The program was designed to create jobs, and would have involved the admission of entrepreneurs on a one-off basis, in large part because they were expected to create additional jobs within the United States.
  3. Entrepreneurs admitted under the new rule would have been subject to the same qualification process and background checks applicable to other foreign nationals granted parole status in the U.S.
  4. Status under the new rule would have been temporary, and limited to an initial stay of up to 30 months and possible renewal of up to 30 additional months.

Contrary to the administration’s position, barring these foreign innovators from the United States not only weakens the U.S. economy but, actually will benefit other economies. Not welcome in the United States, these entrepreneurs will still start up their businesses, implement their ideas and inventions, and create jobs - in other countries.

The U.S. Tech Industry Responds to Blocking the Entrepreneur Visa

U.S. businesses, associations and executives weighing in against the decision to delay implementing the rule include the President of the National Venture Capital Association and AOL founder Steve Case. FWD.us, whose founders include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Dropbox’s Drew Houston, and which receives substantial support from industry leaders such as former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen and AOL CEO/Chairman Tim Armstrong issued a statement which read in part:

“We are extremely disappointed that the White House has decided to roll back the International Entrepreneur Rule after two and a half years, which was a critical effort to ensure that the best and the brightest foreign-born entrepreneurs could more easily grow the companies that will create American jobs here in the U.S. while expanding our economy. This is unquestionably a setback for the United States in the global race for talent – we should be encouraging innovators to bring their new ideas, expertise, and unique skills to our country, rather than incentivizing them to put their talents to work for our competitors abroad.”

Several Republican Senators have even voiced support for the rule.

Delay Could Turn to Death of the Rule

DHS has indicated that the delay in implementing the entrepreneur visa will allow time for public comment on a proposal to eliminate the rule entirely. Check back for information on where and how you can add your voice to the public commentary on this important issue.

The Alagiri Immigration Law Firm helps people with U.S. immigration matters. For more information, please contact us and we can help you with your visa petition.