New rules were just announced by US Citizen and Immigration Services that are designed to make it easier for immigrants to form startup companies in the US. As covered on The White House Blog, these rules would:
- Clarify that immigrant entrepreneurs may obtain an employment-based second preference (EB-2) immigrant visa if they satisfy the existing requirements, and also may qualify for a National Interested Waiver under the EB-2 immigrant visa category if they can demonstrate that their business endeavors will be in the interest of the United States;
- Expand the Premium Processing Service to immigrant petitions for multinational executives and managers;
- Clarify when a sole employee-entrepreneur can establish a valid employer-employee relationship for the purposes of qualifying for an H-1B non-immigrant visa;
- Implement fundamental enhancements to streamline the EB-5 process based directly on stakeholder feedback;
- Launch new engagement opportunities to seek input and feedback on how to address the unique circumstances of entrepreneurs, new businesses and startup companies.
For more information about USCIS and its programs, you can visit www.uscis.gov, follow them on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), or visit the USCIS blog The Beacon. To read the Department of Homeland Security press release, click here.
*UPDATED* Adding some interesting editorial comments from the National Venture Capital Association:
The initiatives announced today illustrate 1) the support of the Administration to ease the immigration path for foreign born entrepreneurs and 2) the fact that there is only so much that can be done without legislative action. These administrative measures are in the spirit of generating ongoing job creation and innovation in the United States, but make no mistake: Major legal immigration reform must remain a top priority for the venture and entrepreneurial communities. The Obama Administration clearly understands the powerful job creation possibilities that such reform could bring. The venture capital industry and start-up communities have long understood this dynamic. We applaud today’s step in the right direction and urge everyone — The White House, Congress, and all stakeholders — to commit to ongoing momentum for this critical issue of national importance.