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USCIS Develops Tools to Help Foreign Entrepreneurs Create and Grow Businesses in the USA

Much of the immigration challenges around case approval for entrepreneur start ups with USCIS has to do with the cases being reviewed by untrained officers, a lack of overall guidance for attorneys and  practitioners concerning this casework, and a fundamental lack of “real world”, hands-on  business knowledge on the part of USCIS.  The agency has definitely released a nice looking mini-website marketing piece on the subject.  We remain hopeful that the implementation of the below-listed changes will be the start of a new mindset for USCIS adjudication of entrepreneur start-up casework.  In reviewing the information,  we note that the Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) team states that they have:

– Developed and deployed a training workshop for USCIS employment-based immigration officers that focuses on start up businesses and the environment for early-stage innovations;
– Trained a team of specialized immigration officers to handle entrepreneur and start up cases;
– Modified Request for Evidence templates for certain nonimmigrant visa categories to incorporate new types of relevant evidence into the adjudicative process; and
– Developed a plan for quarterly engagements with the entrepreneurial community to ensure that USCIS stays current with industry practices.

To sustain the momentum and build on the team’s accomplishments, USCIS indicated that they have extended the EIR project through April 2013.  The project should be extended indefinitely if we are seriously courting foreign entrepreneurs to help jump-start the US economy.  Among other things, the team states that it will expand its focus to immigrant visa pathways that may enable foreign entrepreneurs to start a business in the United States within current immigration law.

We are hopeful, in light of the economic challenges ahead of us in the USA at this time, that Congress will have a light bulb moment and pass legislation for a Start-up Visa and find  a balanced and fair approach to increasing the visa alotment for STEM occupations without the punitive tradeoff approach of penalizing other visa classifications in return.  For more information on the EIR program, we link here.

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