Proposed DHS Rule Could Provide New Immigration Options to High-Skilled Foreign Entrepreneurs

As discussed in our prior blogs, immigration options for highly-skilled and entrepreneurial foreign nationals are becoming limited. The H-1B visa program has been reduced to a lottery, leaving one’s future employment in the United States up to chance. The troubled EB-5 program continues to be scrutinized by lawmakers and the public. Meanwhile, Congress has been unwilling to address employment-based immigration as a means to strengthen the United States economy and provide immigration options to highly skilled foreign businesspeople and students.

In light of the above, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to authorize a grant of parole for foreign nationals “to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the United States.” The International Entrepreneur Rule is specifically aimed at the founders of start-up entities “whose entry into the United States would provide a significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid growth and job creation.” The proposed rule is an attempt to implement President Obama’s Immigration Accountability Executive Action regarding enhanced options for foreign entrepreneurs.

Under the proposed rule, an applicant must have a 15% or more ownership interest, as well as an “active and central role,” in a business entity formed within three years preceding the filing of the application. The business must have “substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation” to warrant the grant of parole, and must meet one of the three following criteria to qualify:

  1. The start-up entity received significant capital financing (at least $345,000) from U.S. investors with established records of successful investments; or
  2. The start-up entity received significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain U.S. Federal, State, or local government entities; or
  3. The applicant partially meets one or more of the above criteria, and can provide “additional reliable and compelling evidence that his or her parole would provide a significant public benefit.”

If granted, the applicant would receive an initial parole period of two years to manage and expand the business, and will be eligible for an addition three year re-parole based on certain criteria. Parole would also grant immediate employment authorization to applicants, as well as their spouses.

The rule is currently in a 45-day comment period, after which DHS will finalize the final rule for Entrepreneurial Parole. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Leslie Creedy are closely monitoring its progress, and are hopeful that the final rule will provide many of the proposed benefits to foreign entrepreneurs and the U.S. economy. If you would like to discuss whether you may qualify for Entrepreneurial Parole, or are interested in submitting a comment before October 9, 2016, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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