Proposal To Grant Foreign Entrepreneurs Temporary Stay In U.S.

What do Google, Yahoo and Tesla have in common? They were all founded or co-founded by immigrants.  According to a recent studies, as of 2010, at least 40% of the Fortune 500 companies in America were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants.  To attract business talents from other countries, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently proposed a new rule to allow certain international entrepreneurs to enter the U.S. in parole status for up to five (5) years.

From wall street to main street, immigrant entrepreneurs' contributions to American economy cannot be denied.  According to USCIS, the new rule, once finalized, will offer entrepreneurs more options to come to the U.S. to develop their business ventures, which in turn will create job opportunities, attract investment capital and generate revenues in the U.S. 
The new International Entrepreneur Rule authorizes DHS to exercise its discretionary power to parole entrepreneurs of startup enterprises whose stay in the United States would provide "a significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation."  Each case will be decided on its own.  Eligible startup entrepreneurs are those:

(1) Who have a significant ownership interest in the startup (at least 15 percent) and have an active and central role to its operations;

(2) Whose startup was formed in the United States within the past three years; and
(3) Whose startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, as evidenced by:

  • Receiving significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
  • Receiving significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain federal, state or local government entities; or
  • Partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria in addition to other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

Under the proposed rule, entrepreneurs may be granted an initial stay of up to two years to oversee and grow their startup entity in the United States.  A subsequent request for re-parole (for up to three additional years) would be considered only if the entrepreneur and the startup entity continue to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue or job creation. 
It is important to understand that the rule proposes to grant entrepreneurs "parole" status but not an immigration status or a visa (e.g., H-1B). During the five years of parole period, these startup entrepreneurs may apply for a nonimmigrant visa or lawful permanent residency (green card) if they are otherwise eligible. However, since they are only paroled into the United States, they are not allowed to change or adjust their status inside the country.  Rather, they must first depart the U.S. and apply for a visa to re-enter the U.S. 
Furthermore, their dependents including spouses and minor children may also obtain parole status to stay in the U.S.  The rule also proposes to grant employment authorization to the spouses of startup entrepreneurs. 
The public will have 45 days to submit comments about the new rule following its publication in the Federal Register.  DHS will publish a final rule after considering the public comments. 

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