Obama proposes 'start-up visas' to encourage foreign entrepreneurs

28 Aug 2016 | By Ramya
Visas for foreign start-up founders in the US

The Obama administration has proposed new immigration rules allowing foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the US for up to five years (two-year parole and an additional three-year extension).

Foreigners holding a significant stake of at least 15% in a start-up, which has a potential for job creation and rapid business growth, and play an active and central role in its operations are eligible.

In context: Visas for foreign start-up founders in the US

IntroductionForeign entrepreneurs in the US

Over the past several years, foreign nationals in the United States have been establishing some of the most successful companies.

The US immigration law isn't often welcoming to foreigners wishing to start their businesses.

The 'Start-up Visa' was proposed as an amendment to the US immigration law in order to create a Visa for non-US entrepreneurs who have raised capital from qualified US investors.

28 Aug 2016Obama proposes 'start-up visas' to encourage foreign entrepreneurs

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Open for comments

After making the start-up visa announcement, the US Department of Homeland Security, said people for and against the visa proposal have a 45-day period to submit their comments on the same before the final rule is adopted.
Start-ups must raise at least $355k from qualified investors

Visa EligibilityStart-ups must raise at least $355k from qualified investors

Not every foreigner with a novel start-up idea would make the cut.

To qualify for the 'start-up visa', the start-up founders must raise at least a $345,000 fund from qualified US investors or receive $100,000 in grants from exclusive government agencies.

Other "reliable and compelling evidence" of the ability of a company to grow apart from creating more jobs may meet the criteria.

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy's blogpost

"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."

Common ComplaintCommon complaint among immigration reform advocates

The proposal aims to address a frequent complaint among the immigration reform advocates that the existing laws force several bright and highly-educated non-Americans to return to their home countries every year.

The advocates said those foreigners then start firms that compete with the US ones rather than building such companies in the US.

They might hire non-US people, decreasing the job opportunities of Americans.

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Education and technical abilities are valuable to the US economy

Not all advocates support policies specifically favoring highly-educated immigrants over those with lesser education or technical abilities. They argue both skill sets are valuable to the US economy and picking a particular group over another doesn't lead to comprehensive reform.

Obama administration's effortsFixing the broken US immigration system

The 'start-up visa' is being touted as one of Obama administration's several efforts to make the US more hospitable to foreign entrepreneurs.

The tech sector has long maintained there aren't enough Americans with technical abilities, and highly-skilled immigrants are required to boost the US economy.

Government officials said they were taking necessary steps to fix as much of the broken immigration system as possible.