Economists view entrepreneurs as the heroes of a market economy. The Biden administration has decided America could use more heroes.
To facilitate using the International Entrepreneur Rule, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating its policy manual for adjudicators and releasing a menu of options for entrepreneurs, according to a USCIS official speaking on background. “The menu includes helpful details on the full range of pathways within our current immigration system available to entrepreneurs who want to start and grow their companies, create jobs and innovate in the United States,” said the official.
The USCIS goal in updating the policy manual is to build confidence in adjudications for the International Entrepreneur Rule. That could lead to more applications and fewer Requests for Evidence.
The new menu of options for entrepreneurs on the USCIS website contains a good deal of information and includes:
– Options for Noncitizen Entrepreneurs to Work in the United States;
– Immigrant Pathways for Entrepreneur Employment in the United States;
– Nonimmigrant or Parole Pathways for Entrepreneur Employment in the United States.
The initiative on entrepreneurs follows a similar set of resources the Biden administration produced in July 2022 for high-skilled foreign nationals in science and technology fields. The goal was to make talented individuals aware of options for establishing a career in America.
Trump and the team he brought into the White House and federal agencies generally acted with hostility toward businesses that employed foreign-born scientists and engineers in the United States. Companies eventually filed numerous lawsuits against the Trump administration after H-1B denial rates soared and delays and Requests for Evidence increased. In 2020, Trump banned the entry of high-skilled visa holders and employment-based immigrants with a rarely used presidential authority.
A January 2022 White House statement showed the Biden administration has taken the opposite approach: “The Biden-Harris Administration believes that one of America’s greatest strengths is our ability to attract global talent to strengthen our economy and technological competitiveness.” That is not a statement one would have seen during the Trump administration. On the legislative front, the Biden administration pushed for exemptions from employment-based green card limits for foreign Ph.D.’s and master’s degree recipients in key technical fields. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), with Republican leadership support, stopped the measures from being included in the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, dealing a blow to U.S. companies and universities and, in the eyes of many analysts, the U.S. economy.
A recent survey of approximately 500 human resources professionals by Envoy Global and Cint gave the Biden administration high marks on business immigration. “84% of respondents approve of the Biden administration’s handling of employment-based immigration,” according to the survey.
After Donald Trump became president, businesses witnessed one of the most bizarre and self-defeating actions taken by his team—an attempt to kill the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER). The rule went into effect in the final days of the Obama administration but the Trump team “sought to remove IER and block implementation before the program launched, thereby costing the United States jobs and innovation,” according to the National Venture Capital Association, which successfully sued the Trump administration over the rule.
Although the Trump administration failed to rescind the International Entrepreneur Rule, its actions prevented business people from using the rule to start new companies in the United States. The original regulation estimated about 3,000 people a year could use the program but by the end of the Trump administration only one “very tenacious” person managed to gain approval and parole as an international entrepreneur, according to a USCIS official.
Under the rule, the Department of Homeland Security, on a case-by-case basis, may grant parole to foreign entrepreneurs “who demonstrate that their stay in the United States would provide a significant public benefit through their business venture.” Entrepreneurs would receive employment authorization (to work at their startup). A spouse is also eligible to be employed in the United States.
With an extension, an entrepreneur could stay in parole status for up to five years, after which they can attempt to use an immigration category to gain permanent residence. A USCIS official noted if the entrepreneur’s business is successful, they could qualify in the employment-based first preference (extraordinary ability) or second preference, with the possibility to self-petition with a “national interest” waiver.
“The United States is open for business,” said a USCIS official. “We want the best and the brightest from around the world to start and grow their companies here.”
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