This summer, a rule was reinstated that enables U.S. startups to enhance their workforce by looking to a global pool of talent. This provision, known as parole, allows USCIS in its discretion on a case-by-case basis, to grant entry and employment authorization to foreign nationals for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
This is an important program, because it allows startups to look to the most advanced technology training markets in the world to build and strengthen their products. We have long discussed the importance of entrepreneur visas, and while that has not come to fruition just yet, this is one step in that direction. In fact, entrepreneurs can use this as a method to come to the U.S. on a work visa with a U.S. based board of directors or other senior executive leadership. Because this is not a straightforward entrepreneur visa, it is best to work with a work visa attorney to discuss your unique case and the options you may have.
Currently, for foreign nationals to qualify for International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP), the applicant entrepreneur must play a central and active role in the operations of the start-up and demonstrate that his or her academic background and/or experience will substantially assist the entity with the growth and success of its business. At the time of the initial application, the entrepreneur must own at least 10% of the entity, but this ownership may steadily decrease over the course of five years as equity is transferred to other investors. Regardless, they must remain a financial stakeholder in the company throughout the entire time of the parole.
IEP is an important step for the USCIS evolution, as it demonstrates that the U.S. government is putting more attention, belief, and support in the technology sector. To remain competitive for global talent, viable paths to bring these individuals to the United States is vital. If you are looking to bring an entrepreneur or other highly focused team member to the U.S. to propel your startup, contact our team of business immigration attorneys today.