International entrepreneurs, who find it difficult to satisfy the EB5 criteria as they are unable to raise overseas investment, may soon be provided an alternative route. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is proposing a new rule which is aimed at expanding immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment and generating revenue in the U.S. This rule would allow certain international entrepreneurs to be considered for parole (temporary permission to be in the United States) so that they may start or scale their businesses here in the United States.
The proposed rule would allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to use its existing discretionary statutory parole authority for entrepreneurs of startup entities whose stay in the United States would provide a significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation.
As per the proposed rule, an entrepreneur may be granted an initial stay of up to two years to oversee and grow their startup in the U.S. To establish that the entrepreneur qualifies for this rule, it must be established that the entrepreneur created a new entity within the last 3 years and is well-positioned to advance the entity’s business, by providing evidence that he or she possesses a significant (at least 15%) ownership interest in the entity at the time of adjudication of the initial grant of parole and has an active and central role in the operations and future growth of the entity, such that his or her knowledge, skills, or experience would substantially assist the entity in conducting and growing its business in the United States.
To validate the entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation, the applicant may show that the entity has received significant investment of capital ($345,000 or more) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments, or that the start-up entity has received significant awards or grants ($100,000 or more) from Federal, State or local government entities with expertise in economic development, research and development, and/or job creation. Alternatively, an applicant who partially meets one or more of the above sub-criteria related to capital investment or government funding may be considered for parole under this rule if he or she provides additional evidence that his or her entry would provide a significant public benefit to the United States.
USCIS may grant a subsequent request for extension of parole (for up to three additional years) 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. To establish this, the applicant would need to demonstrate that the entity continues to lawfully operate business in the United States and have substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation. Moreover, the applicant should continue to be an entrepreneur of the start-up entity who is well-positioned to advance the entity’s business by continuing to possess at least 10 percent ownership interest in the entity and continue to have an active and central role in the operations and future growth of the entity. For parole extension, the applicant needs to satisfy though evidence that the start-up entity received additional substantial investments of capital ($500,000 or more) through qualified investments from U.S. investors or through significant awards or grants from government entities that regularly provide such funding to start-up entities; or a combination of both.
Alternatively, the applicant may show that the start-up entity has generated substantial and rapidly increasing revenue in the United States (At least $500,000 in annual revenue with average growth at least 20 % annually), or by creating at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers during the initial parole period.
As with initial parole, alternatively an applicant who partially meets one or more of the above sub-criteria related to capital investment or government funding may be considered for parole extension under this rule if he or she provides additional evidence that his or her entry would provide a significant public benefit to the United States.
The text of the proposed rule that was announced by U.S. Department of Homeland Security on August 24, 2016 can be read here.