Trump Administration wants to do away with startup Visa rule

Giving into the pressure from right wing nationalists, the Trump administration plans to delay and ultimately scrap a rule that would allow some foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. and build their companies, according to a report, citing an administration official referencing a final draft of a Federal Register notice.

While the International Entrepreneur Rule — a rule close to what Silicon Valley has been seeking for some time — was set to take effect on July 17 following the Department of Homeland Security’s January approval, now President Donald Trump and his administration is hoping to squash the rule that was approved during previous President Barack Obama’s administration, the San Francisco Chronicle reported June 21.

The yet-to-be-released notice will push back the start date of the rule to March 2018, during which time it plans to remove it, the report said. Should the rule go into effect, it would give entrepreneurs who do not qualify for existing visa programs, such as the H-1B and L-1 programs routinely sought by Indian individuals seeking work in the U.S., a chance to stay in the U.S. and grow their businesses. The Trump administration is working on altering the H-1B and L-1 visas as well, as part of his “Buy American, Hire American” executive order.

The Chronicle reported how Indian American entrepreneur Sharoon Thomas moved his e-commerce software startup from Mountain View, Calif., to Canada to keep his company going. Word of the notice came during a week in which Trump met with tech giants Microsoft and Apple and their chief executives Satya Nadella and Tim Cook to build up a wavering relationship between Silicon Valley and Washington, the Chronicle reported.

To qualify for the “startup visa” rule, a foreigner must demonstrate that he or she will contribute to economic growth or job creation and show that a reputable investor has put at least $250,000 into the company.

It allows the entrepreneur to stay in the U.S. for 30 months, with the possibility of a 30-month extension. Critics say the rule’s use of “parole” authority with respect to visitors from abroad is problematic, the report said.

In this case, the term parole means that individuals are not formally admitted into the U.S. — as they would be with a work visa such as an H-1B — but legally can stay for a temporary period, it said.

Four Republican senators — Jerry Moran of Kansas, Orrin Hatch of Utah, and Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona — wrote to the Department of Homeland Security expressing support for the rule, according to the report. The notice will likely be published in the Federal Register in the coming days, the official said in the report.

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