USCIS proposes parole status for foreign entrepreneurs
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a proposed rule that would allow the individuals referred to as “international entrepreneurs” to enter the United States temporarily on parole. The parole status is similar to the status given to children of Filipino war veterans in a policy implemented a couple of months ago but in a different context. This recently proposed international entrepreneur rule is considered to be a significant public benefit parole program to promote entrepreneurship and job creation.
There is a gap in the current immigration law that will permit start-up entrepreneurs who receive significant capital investment from U.S. investors to stay and operate their businesses in the United States. Foreign students who are potential entrepreneurs and founders of start-ups have limited ways to stay on a temporary visa after they graduate. Young immigrants who are researchers, innovators specifically in new technologies are not afforded sufficient avenues to develop their own start-up businesses within the United States.
The proposed policy allows USCIS to use its discretionary parole authority to fill this gap and grant parole to founders of start-up entities whose entry would provide “significant public benefit” and whose start-ups have potential to facilitate research and development, create jobs for U.S. workers or otherwise benefit the U.S. economy through increased business activity, innovation and dynamism.
The proposed rule will grant parole status to an applicant who is an “entrepreneur” of a start-up who has an active role in the operations and growth of the business. This entrepreneur must have recently formed a new start-up entity within three years before the date of filing the initial parole application.
Unlike an investor visa where the entrepreneur must show infusion of capital to the business that is formed from his own resources, an international entrepreneur seeking parole must show that the start-up business has potential for “rapid growth and job creation.” There are three alternative ways to prove this: first, that the business has significant U.S. capital investment of $345,00 or from established U.S. investors such as venture capital firms, angel investors and the like who have a history of substantial investment in successful start-up entities; second, the business received government funding of grants totaling $100,000 or more; and, third, any reliable and compelling evidence that will prove significant public benefit to the United States.
It is expected that this proposed rule will be implemented before end of this year; and, as soon as the rules are final, the USCIS will start accepting applications on new USCIS Form 941. The filing fee for this application is $1,200. Once the application is approved, the entrepreneur, his/her spouse and minor children will be paroled into the United States and will receive employment authorization documents. Parole will be granted for up to two years and may be renewed for up to three years.
It is noticeable that the current administration recently has been releasing new immigration policies. Even with a few months left before President Obama leaves office, he has somehow made good his promise to use his Executive power to fill in the gaps that have been left open by the failure of a divided Congress to pass any form of immigration legislation that is responsive to the competitive new global economy.
(Atty. Lourdes Santos Tancinco, Esq. is an immigration attorney with the Tancinco Law Offices, a San Francisco CA based law firm. She may be reached at 1 888 930 0808, [email protected] , facebook.com/tancincolaw, or through her website www.tancinco.com)
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