New USCIS Initiatives to Encourage Entrepreneurs

Women in business suit smilingDespite increasing evidence that immigrant entrepreneurs will be key to jump-starting the economy, until recently, USCIS has persisted in applying its traditional large corporate paradigms to the adjudication of start-ups – often with negative outcomes. The news has been full of recent foreign born graduates from top schools obtaining financing to launch the next big initiative only to be stymied by unforgiving U.S. laws resulting in their taken their talents and dreams to Canada and elsewhere.

USCIS seems to be beginning to see the light starting in October, 2011, when Director Majorkas announced a new initiative to harness industry expertise from the public and private sectors aimed at increasing the job creation potential of employment-based and high-skilled visa categories. Called ‘Entrepreneurs in Residence’, or EIR, the initiative consists of a tactical team comprised of outside experts working alongside USCIS staff.  The USCIS EIR initiative was launched with an Information Summit in Moffett Field, Calif.

In 2012, USCIS launched its Entrepreneur Pathways – A Resource for Immigrant Entrepreneurs. The site contains some valuable information for entrepreneurs particularly, those wishing to take advantage of the H-1B visa.   On the site, USCIS explains that it may be possible for the sole or majority owner of the petitioning company or organization to be able to establish a valid employer-employee relationship by documenting whether the U.S. employer may hire, pay, fire, supervise or otherwise control the work of the entrepreneur’s employment.

The entrepreneur who holds an advanced degree or who can demonstrate exceptional abilities in the field and who can demonstrate that his or her business enterprise will create jobs for U.S. workers or otherwise enhance the welfare of the United States may qualify for a green card without having to obtain a labor certification by way of a National Interest Waiver. This is a brand new exciting new pathway for business owners who wish to obtain U.S. permanent residence. Despite the fact that so far, there is very little precedent for this type of green card application we are confident that this may prove to be a viable pathway to the green card for many who have turned their dreams into reality by starting up a business in the U.S.

You can read more about various visas that are available to entrepreneurs at our Entrepreneurs and Business Start-ups  pageIn addition, we regularly post entries on Entrepreneurs and Business Start-ups at our blogsite – theVisaGeek.