The Obama administration on Friday proposed immigration rules that would allow foreign-born entrepreneurs to remain in the United States for up to five years if they own a significant stake in a start-up company with the potential for “rapid business growth and job creation.”
Immigrant entrepreneurs who hold an ownership interest of at least 15 percent and have an “active and central role” in the company’s operations are eligible to apply for parole, or temporary permission to remain in the United States, for up to two years. If granted, they can apply to extend the parole for an additional three years.
But not every engineer with a novel idea will make the cut. To qualify, the start-up must have raised at least $345,000 from qualified U.S. investors or received $100,000 in grants from select government agencies. Other “reliable and compelling evidence” of the venture’s ability to grow and add jobs may also meet the criteria.
Those for and against the proposal have 45 days to comment before a final rule is adopted.
The proposed rule aims to address a common complaint among immigration reform advocates that existing laws force many bright and highly educated immigrants to return to their countries of origin every year. Those individuals then start companies abroad that compete with U.S. firms, advocates say, rather than building those companies here and hiring American workers.
“Immigrant entrepreneurs have always made exceptional contributions to America’s economy, in communities all across the country. Immigrants have helped start as many as one of every four small businesses and high-tech start-ups across America, and the majority of high-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley,” Tom Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation, and Doug Rand, assistant director for entrepreneurship, at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy wrote in a blog post on Medium.
But not all immigration reform advocates support policies that specifically favor highly educated immigrants over those with less education or technical ability. They have argued in the past that both skill sets are valuable to the U.S. economy and that cherry-picking one group of people over another does not lead to comprehensive reform.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Steven Overly