Obama's New Job-Creation Plan: Bring More Foreign Entrepreneurs to U.S.

By Susan Jones | August 29, 2016 | 9:39am EDT
The Obama administration's latest job creation plan depends on foreigner entrepreneurs. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The Obama administration is proposing a new rule that would allow "certain international entrepreneurs" to come to the United States temporarily to start or expand their businesses in this country.

The “startup visa” for international entrepreneurs has always been part of President Obama's "commonsense immigration reform principles, and was part of the bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013," the White House said. It added that the Obama administration, in its few remaining months, is "taking the steps it can within existing legal authorities to fix as much of our broken immigration system as possible."

The proposed rule would allow the Department of Homeland Security to use its "existing, discretionary, statutory parole authority" for entrepreneurs "whose stay in the United States would provide a significant public benefit" through business growth and job creation.

Under the proposed rule, foreign entrepreneurs could be granted an initial stay of up to two years to oversee and grow their startup entity in the United States.  A subsequent request for re-parole (for up to three additional years) would be considered only if the entrepreneur and the startup entity continue to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue or job creation.

Eligible entrepreneurs of startup companies would be considered for the temporary visa on a case-by-case basis if:

-- They have a significant ownership interest in the startup (at least 15 percent) and have an active and central role in its operations;
-- Their startup was formed in the United States within the past three years; and
-- Their startup receives significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments; their startup receives significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain federal, state or local government entities; their startup satisfies part of the preceding two criteria and has "other reliable and compelling evidence of...substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation."

“America’s economy has long benefitted from the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs, from Main Street to Silicon Valley,” León Rodríguez, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said on Friday, when he announced the new "startup visa."

“This proposed rule, when finalized, will help our economy grow by expanding immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment and generating revenue in the U.S.”

The White House called the proposed rule "an important step in attracting the world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs to start the next generation of great companies and create jobs here in the United States."

The White House pointed to Dr. Karen Lozano as an example of the type of foreigners it hopes to bring in:

"She came to the United States to pursue graduate work in mechanical engineering and materials science, and was the first Mexican native to graduate with a PhD in engineering from Rice University. Dr. Lozano went on to join the faculty of the University of Texas-Pan American (now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) and to co-invent a process for spinning nanofibers exponentially faster than other technologies on the market. The company she co-founded to commercialize this technology, FibeRio, generated sales on five continents and 40 advanced manufacturing jobs close to home.

We need more ways to ensure that people like Dr. Lozano are creating jobs and growing the economy here in the United States. That is why creating a “startup visa” for international entrepreneurs has always been a part of the President’s commonsense immigration reform principles, and was part of the bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013.

"And while there is no substitute for legislation, the Administration is taking the steps it can within existing legal authorities to fix as much of our broken immigration system as possible. The administrative reforms announced by the President in November 2014, if fully implemented, could boost the nation’s economic output by up to $250 billion, while shrinking the federal deficit by $65 billion over the next ten years."

Once the notice of proposed rulemaking is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 45 days from the date of publication to comment.

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