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  July 16th, 2017 | Written by

BREAKING NEWS: International Entrepreneur Rule Delayed By Trump Administration

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  • International Entrepreneur Rule would have allowed DHS to grant entry to foreign entrepreneurs for 30 months.
  • Applicants under International Entrepreneur would have had to secure funding or acceptance in startup incubator.
  • DHS estimated that 2,940 entrepreneurs would have been eligible annually under the International Entrepreneur Rule.

The effective date of the regulation proposed by former President Barrack Obama called the International Entrepreneur Rule was postponed by the Department of Homeland Security from July 17, 2017 to March 14, 2018.

Some news outlets are reporting the Trump administration is planning to scrap the rule altogether.

The rule, originally published last January, in the final days of the Obama administration, would have allowed DHS to use its parole authority to grant a period of authorized stay, on a case-by-case basis, to foreign entrepreneurs for up to 30 months, with the possibility to extend the period by an additional 30 months in the discretion of DHS.

Applicants under the program would have had to demonstrate that their stay in the United States would have provided a significant public benefit through rapid business growth and job creation. They would also have had to secure $250,000 in funding or acceptance in a startup incubator.

DHS estimated in January that 2,940 entrepreneurs would have been eligible under the rule annually. Eligibility under the rule could have been extended to up to three entrepreneurs per startup entity, as well as spouses and children. Entrepreneurs would have been eligible to work only for their startup business, while their spouses could have applied for work authorization in the United States.

In postponing the effective date of the rule, DHS said it wanted to make sure it was consistent with an executive order signed by President Donald Trump on January 25, concerning immigration, and providing that DHS administer its parole authority on a strict case-by-case basis. The department also said it intended to solicit comments and to conduct hearings on the matter.

DHS’s “announcement is extremely disappointing and represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the critical role immigrant entrepreneurs play in growing the next generation of American companies,” said Bobby Franklin, president and chief executive of the National Venture Capital Association. “At a time when countries around the world are doing all they can to attract and retain talented individuals to come to their shores to build and grow innovative companies, the Trump administration is signaling its intent to do the exact opposite.”

“This change hits deeply into one of the most promising streams of talent in the US—the non-US entrepreneurs,” said Max Versace, CEO of Neurala, an aritificial intelligence and deep learning company. “Making it hard for non-US entrepreneurs to come to the US to expand their already successful startups won’t help the US economy—it will hurt it, and it would eliminate many of the companies that are around today.”

Two of Neurala’s three founders are foreign-born, and, Versace noted, “without the current rules in place, Neurala wouldn’t exist.”

Making it hard to hire non-US citizens would make sense if there were a local qualified workforce that US companies can tap into, Versace added. “The workforce is already very small, consisting of hyper-specialized, often Ph.D.-bearing individuals in very high demand. This restriction would cause companies to either contract their activities as a result or move their R&D abroad. We are not planning to contract our activity.”

During the delay in implementing the International Entrepreneur Rule, DHS announced, individuals will not be able to apply for parole under its provisions.