As any student of U.S. history will tell you, our great nation was built with an entrepreneurial spirit. One need not look hard to find business pioneers throughout American history who set their sights on the United States as the fertile ground upon which to build their dreams. Indeed, entrepreneurial mavericks such as Andrew Carnegie, Oscar de la Renta and Google co-founder Sergey Brin are part of a growing club of entrepreneurs who had immigrated to the U.S. and eventually found success well beyond their wildest dreams.
A Rocky Road for Some Business Leaders
Certain immigration policies, however, have deterred innovators from settling in the United States. While these policies are intended to preserve the safety of our borders, they frequently have the unintended effect of keeping out those that create jobs, generate tax revenues and maintain America’s place as a leader in technology. For example, Amit Aharoni, an entrepreneur and Stanford Business School graduate who secured $1.65 million in funding for his online cruise booking company, was forced to leave the U.S., despite employing nine Americans after only one year in business. Unfortunately, this has not been an isolated occurrence for entrepreneurs who do not plot their immigration strategy as carefully as their business plans.
Rolling Out the Welcome Mat in the Twenty-First Century
In response to situations such as Mr. Aharoni’s, the immigration service introduced the Entrepreneurs in Residence initiative, which is the product of a massive collaboration between private sector leaders, immigration experts, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. By optimizing visa categories that are already available, the team made major progress in the effort to attract business leaders to our shores. Specifically, the initiative accomplished the following:
- Introduced Entrepreneur Pathways, a tool that assists immigrant entrepreneurs in identifying which visa category fits their needs
- Developed Startup 101 and other specialized training for USCIS employees to facilitate more effective adjudication of multifaceted business immigration cases
- Coordinated with business leaders in Silicon Valley, Atlanta, Boston and Washington, DC, and academic institutions such as MIT, to identify ways to better serve the needs of foreign entrepreneurs in major startup hubs
In a little over a year, the Entrepreneurs in Residence initiative has already made great strides, and plans to expand the program are moving forward. The model developed for this program is even being viewed as the template for improvements in other immigration areas.
Those seeking to leverage programs for entrepreneurs and other business leaders need an informed advocate to help them develop an effective immigration strategy. At the Law Office of Maud Poudat, P.A., we can plot your course to success in the United States.