Administrative Changes Will Create Opportunities for Startups

As we recently reported, on November 20, 2014, the President announced a series of executive actions broadly covering immigration law. One such action relates to the implementation of a parole system for inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises. Although the majority of details on this and the other executive actions are not yet available, and an application process has not yet been implemented, the information we do have shows promise for the expansion of opportunities for foreign entrepreneurs in the U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson released a memo outlining how the President’s policy changes will support U.S. economic growth. He describes using the “significant public benefit” parole authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act to grant parole status to certain inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises who may not yet qualify for national interest waivers, but who otherwise show potential. The applicant would have to have been awarded substantial U.S. investor financing or otherwise show promise in the areas of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies or cutting-edge research. Parole would allow entrepreneurs to pursue research and development efforts in the U.S. on a temporary basis.

Other countries such as Canada, Australia and Chile have already implemented startup visas and other types of visas for foreign entrepreneurs. The new parole program would get the U.S. at least a little closer to being able to compete with these and other countries for the world’s best talent and most innovative ideas.

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