Visa 'Clarifications' Aimed at Attracting Foreign Entrepreneurs

Susan Hall

The White House is busying "clarifying" H-1B visa and green card rules in an attempt to attract more foreign entrepreneurs, Computerworld reports.

 

There are no new regulations and Robert Deasy, director of liaison and information for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, calls the changes "not hugely substantive." U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is issuing the new guidance, has updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document on its website.

 

For instance, officials want to clarify the definition of a visa sponsor. While hiring companies typically sponsor visa-holders, if you are an immigrant founder, you may qualify for EB-2 Green Card visa if you report to a board of directors.

 

In addition to an advanced degree, this visa also requires exceptional ability, defined as "a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business."

 

An immigrant founder might also qualify for an H-1B visa if you can demonstrate separation between your role as founder and your role as an employee of the company.


 

USCIS also wants to make it easier for foreign investors to work with the agency to expedite the processing of EB-5 visas and resolve issues. That green card visa requires an immigrant founder to have a minimum startup investment of $500,000 and to create at least 10 jobs, something that USCIS will verify. While 10,000 EB-5 visas are available annually, only about half are used.

 

Meanwhile. The Startup Visa Act, proposed as a way to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to locate here, has yet to gain Congressional approval.

 

Nevertheless, entrepreneur/scholar Vivek Wadhwa, a huge proponent of attracting and keeping immigrant talent, tweeted Tuesday:

Spent last 3 hours with [U.S. CTO] . Conclusion: USCIS announcement is an earnest effort to help entrepreneurs. Hope they succeed.


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