The U.S. and worldwide entrepreneur community had been looking forward to July 17th with great anticipation. This was supposed to be the effective date of the new International Entrepreneur Parole immigration regulation. This refreshing and innovative immigration option for foreign entrepreneurs would solve an enormous problem in the U.S. immigration system: the non-existence of a visa for start-ups founded by or being driven by talented foreign nationals. Yet on July 11, 2017 the Department of Homeland Security published a notice in the Federal Register seeking comments on its desire to rescind the rule.
This entrepreneur parole process would not have been a cakewalk for applicants: only those who could meet the stringent requirements associated with it would be able qualify (to be approved, entrepreneurs would have to own at least 10% of the enterprise and would have to have raised significant capital from established U.S. investors or government grants). Applications would be very strictly reviewed, and only applicants who clearly qualified and passed required government background checks would be approved for this temporary status.
Yet despite the strict criteria, the entrepreneur community was delighted that the U.S. government (during the Obama administration) had finally rolled out an immigration solution to the enormous talent crisis facing the U.S. technology sector.
The technology industry is fueled in large part by immigration. As of January, 2016 immigrants had started more than half (44 of 87) of America’s start-up companies valued at $1 billion dollars or more and are key members of management or product development teams in over 70 percent (62 or 87) of these companies.* Immigrants play vital roles in the technology industry in job creation, innovation and leadership.