July 13, 2017

Start-Up Immigration Regulation Delayed

Yesterday DHS published a notice in the Federal Register delaying from July 17 (next week) to March 14, 2018, implementation of the International Entrepreneur Rule. The stated reason is to provide DHS with an opportunity to receive comments from the public on a proposal to rescind the rule as inconsistent with President Trump’s Executive Order on border security and immigration enforcement improvements. DHS says it “may ultimately eliminate the program.”

The International Entrepreneur Rule, or Start-Up Rule, would grant 30 months of lawful presence to foreign national entrepreneurs who are able to attract US “angel” investor funding or government awards to fund a start-up company in the US. The entrepreneurs would be required to hire a certain number of US workers and to increase the size of their company and investor funding in order to obtain an additional 30 months of lawful presence. The Obama administration had expected about 2,940 applications per year.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association called today’s announcement “completely contrary to President Trump’s stated objectives of creating opportunities and job growth for Americans.” FWD.us, an immigration reform group launched by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders called the decision a setback: “We should be encouraging innovators to bring their new ideas, expertise, and unique skills to our country, rather than incentivizing them to put their talents to work for our competitors abroad.” Canada and France have already implemented such programs.

PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, originally from the Ukraine, said that, as an immigrant entrepreneur who has created tens of thousands of US jobs, he is “beyond disappointed in this decision.”

You may submit comments, identified by DHS Docket No. USCIS-2015-0006, at the federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

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