USAIE Weighs in on the Proposed Startup Immigration Rule

U. S. Alliance for International Entrepreneurs Offers Their Take on the Proposed Rule

(New York Times article on the rule below)

USCIS proposed “start-up” rule may help some International Entrepreneurs, but don’t get too excited…yet. The proposed rule, the full text you can read here, provides an initial two-year parole, with one additional three-year renewal. “Parole” is an immigration legal term, but the net effect is the International Entrepreneur will be able to work at the startup, provided they meet certain criteria:

  • The entity was formed within the last three years at the time of application
  • Owns at least a 15 percent
  • Shows the company has “substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation”

“Substantial potential…” can be established by showing:

  • Investments of capital totaling $345,000 or more came from U.S. investors, such as venture capital firms, angel investors, or start-up accelerators; and only U.S. citizens and Green Card holders may invest in the start-up; or
  • Demonstrate proof of grants or awards of at least $100,000 from local, state or federal government entities that have “provided support for economic, research and development, or job creation purposes.”

While the start-up may employ no more than three entrepreneurial parolees, the proposed rule does grant employment authorization (EAD) to the spouse. That could provide for some interesting creative solutions. Also, the Startup Parole application will have a $1,200 filing fee

As an immigration lawyer for over 20 years, I never get excited about “proposed” rules. There is the usual “commenting” period, and then changes, and eventually the Final Published Rule. Then, we have implementation, which is always like waking through a funhouse…one never really knows what’s around the corner. Too often adjudications are inconsistent not only from USCIS but also at CBP Port of Entries.

I would add that government officials are trying to help. For example, over the past few years there has been a more lenient adjudication of O1 visas petitions for International Entrepreneurs. USCIS will approve H1B petitions even where the beneficiary is a significant shareholder, even more than 50%, provided you can prove an “employer/employee” relationship. Of course, we have an election in November and a new administration coming next year, which means there could be a whole new set of rules and policies.

However, at least this Administration is trying to do something to help the thousands of International Entrepreneurs, many of whom enter as F-1 students and then want to build a company.

USAIE is a group of immigration attorneys working alongside business, tax and investment experts.  Their Mission is to provide comprehensive professional advice and services to startups, accelerators, and universities in the areas of U.S. immigration, tax, corporate, intellectual property, and banking. We are a network of professionals helping foreign national students and entrepreneurs grow their companies in the United States.

More from the USAIE  Innovative Visa Options for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

U.S. Proposes Immigration Rule Aimed at Entrepreneurs

New York Times By STACY COWLEY AUGUST 26, 2016

Foreign entrepreneurs building new companies in the United States could soon gain a new immigration option that would grant them temporary entry for up to five years, under a rule proposed on Friday by the Department of Homeland Security.

The proposal, which does not require congressional approval, would allow immigration officials to admit entrepreneurs case by case. To qualify, an applicant must have an “active and central role,” and a significant ownership stake, in an American company founded in the last three years.

The move is one of many piecemeal efforts by the Obama administration to expand America’s immigration policies without action from Congress. Entrepreneurs in any industry would be eligible to apply, but the new rule would be especially significant for the technology field. Creating an immigration route for start-up founders has been one of Silicon Valley’s political priorities.

“This is a big step in the right direction,” said Patrick Collison, an Irish immigrant and the chief executive of Stripe, a payment processing company based in San Francisco. “I think it will have major impact on U.S. entrepreneurship, and potentially on the broader economy.”  [Rest of Story]

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