Obama-era rule granted visas to immigrants who lined up $250,000 in capital.
A regulation from the Obama administration that would have allowed foreign-born entrepreneurs who raise investor cash to build their startups in the US won’t be allowed to go into effect.
The Department of Homeland Security will file an official notice to delay the International Entrepreneur Rule for eight months. The intention is to eliminate the rule entirely, according to sources briefed on the matter who spoke to The Wall Street Journal.
The decision isn’t final, and a DHS spokesperson told the WSJ that the department “cannot speculate” on the outcome of the review.
Allowing for some type of “startup visa” has long been a request of Silicon Valley advocates and lobbyists. More than 50 percent of startups worth $1 billion or more were founded by immigrants, according to a study published last year by the National Foundation for American Policy. Major US tech companies like Google, Yahoo, Intel, and Marvell Technology were all founded by immigrants.
A type of “startup visa” was included in a 2013 immigration reform bill, but that bill didn’t garner enough votes in the House of Representatives.
he International Entrepreneur Rule, signed by former President Obama days before he left office in January, doesn’t offer a visa but rather a type of “parole” that would allow immigrants to stay in the US temporarily as long as they meet certain requirements.
In order to qualify, a foreign entrepreneur has to raise at least $250,000 from well-known US investors. The rule grants a stay in the US of 30 months, which can be extended for an additional 30 months. Founders can’t apply for a green card during that time. DHS has estimated about 3,000 entrepreneurs would qualify under the rule.
Many other countries, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Ireland, and New Zealand, have visa grants or other programs to attract entrepreneurs. The WSJ reports that the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, is moving forward with a French Tech Visa that would grant startup founders a four-year residence in the country.