Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Biden admin to revive short-term work programme for foreign entrepreneurs

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The Biden administration announced on Monday it will revive a short-term work programme for foreign entrepreneurs that former president Donald Trump had wanted to kill.

The International Entrepreneur rule was proposed by then president Barack Obama in his final days in office – on January 17, 2017. The Trump administration was opposed to it and delayed it from going into effect, but a court vacated the delay and ordered the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to continue the programme. But it was clear to everyone, it was in Trump’s crosshairs.

Under the programme, foreign entrepreneurs are allowed to set up start-ups in the United States over a period of five years; the company must get at least $250,000 in US venture capital and employ at 10 people.

The work permit comes under the authority of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to grant “parole”, which is different from a standard US visa. It allows a maximum of three persons for every start-up, to work in the US. Their families can join them, and spouses can seek work authorisation; but their children cannot.

“Immigrants in the United States have a long history of entrepreneurship, hard work, and creativity, and their contributions to this nation are incredibly valuable,” said acting USCIS director Tracy Renaud. “The International Entrepreneur parole programme goes hand-in-hand with our nation’s spirit of welcoming entrepreneurship and USCIS encourages those who are eligible to take advantage of the programme.”

“After four years of Trump-era obstruction, the International Entrepreneur Rule is finally coming to life,” tweeted Doug Rand, who had worked on immigration in the Obama White House. “It’s a pathway designed for entrepreneurs from abroad to create start-ups & jobs in the US.”

President Biden has overturned or allowed to lapse many of former president Trump’s restrictive immigrant and non-immigrant visa programmes, including the suspension of Green Card (permanent residency). He has also proposed an ambitious legislation overhauling the immigration system, which, however, has no prospect of being enacted in its entirety.

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