Rumors have been circulating about a new type of visa being concocted by the Department of Homeland Security and related to Startup Visas. As you know, most H-1B visas go to highly skilled foreign nationals for work in the STEM sector. Many of these individuals go on to become some of the best innovators and entrepreneur in the America and the world at large.
The Obama administration is spearheading the effort to provide visa access to startups that fit specific criteria.
Foreign national entrepreneurs would need to meet certain conditions to be granted visas: Their U.S. startup must be less than three years old; they must hold at least a 15 percent stake in the company while also maintaining a “central and active role in its operations”; and the startup must have received at least $345,000 in funding from an investor and/or at least $100,000 in government grants to show “substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.”
Tech firms also support the changes to establish the visa. Mark Zuckerberg’s immigration-focused non-profit, FWD.us, wants the funding requirement lowered to only $250,000 in funding. However, since most startups burn money and end up drowned, perhaps that is overzealous. One of the main Requests For Evidence (RFE) bases in rejected H-1B application specifically addresses an employer’s ability to pay for the foreign national’s salary. Having a lower funding requirement may result in having an unemployed foreign national as a result of the startup’s failure (which happens to a very high percentage of startups).
Moreover, startup supporter or not Obama is a lame duck. I’ll update this blog after election day, but there is a chance that Hillary does not win and Trump’s xenophobic drivel could spell doom for many potential immigrants.
Finally, Congress must pass the law. The USCIS does not have the authority to create its own types of visas. Until Congress acts (which it never does…see what they have done to the medical marijuana laws instead of acting), the administrative agencies can only carry into effect the laws already on the books. With the election and Congress’ intransgence in mind, the current immigration laws are the best predictor of the next immigration laws.
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