*This article is also published on Huffington Post.
My family has had a long history of taking risks in business and immigration (we were originally business migrants from China to Vietnam) and being outside of our comfort zones. Each time we beat the odds and gave back to the community. At each transition, we successfully adapted, rebuilt our lives and businesses, despite having to start over in many countries. My experience as a refugee and minority, female lawyer and entrepreneur has helped me to create inclusive solutions in global entrepreneurship and law, and be a strong advocate for global diversity. Recently, USCIS proposed an International Entrepreneur Rule to spur innovation and job creation. The following are some brief responses to questions received regarding global entrepreneurship and law in relation to the U.S.A.
Why do entrepreneurs want to come to the United States?
Entrepreneurs want to come to the U.S.A. as it is a large market, with great access to VC’s and funding. The legal and political systems are reasonably stable. The entrepreneurship and business climate and opportunities are very engaging and encouraging. There are also great schools and services to support entrepreneurs and their families.
What are some advantages of having foreign-born entrepreneurs found and grow their businesses in the United States?
Immigrant entrepreneurs have been a major economic force around the world. Some of the U.S.A.’s most respected entrepreneurs, including Elon Musk and Steve Jobs have immigrant backgrounds and ties. A study from the National Foundation for American Policy, a non-partisan think tank based in Arlington, Virginia, shows that immigrants started more than half of the current U.S.-based startups valued at $1 billion or more. Research also shows that Immigrants or their children founded 40% of the Fortune 500 companies. The Kauffmann Foundation suggests that, without a start-up visa, the U.S.A. will miss the opportunity to create 1.6 million jobs over the next 10 years. Hence, immigrant entrepreneurs are essential to the U.S.A.’s economic growth, future and diversity.
What is the proposed USCIS Proposed International Entrepreneur Rule to Spur Innovation and Job Creation?
In brief, the proposed rule will allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to exercise discretion, and provide parole for foreign entrepreneurs who are directing the development of a start-up in the United States and whose involvement in the start-up would provide a significant public benefit.
Requirements of the immigrant entrepreneur include:
Own at least 15% of the startup and be actively involved in its operation
Have formed the business in the United States within the previous three years.
The entrepreneur must also demonstrate that his/her business the potential for job creation and growth by showing:
Investment of a minimum of $345,000 from qualified U.S. investors with success in prior investments
The receipt of grants or awards from federal, state, or local government entities.
The proposed rule also allows the entrepreneur to provide evidence of the start-up’s potential for growth and job creation, if the entrepreneur may only partially satisfy one or both of the above criteria.
Is the Proposed International Entrepreneur Rule an Adequate Solution for Immigrant Entrepreneurs?
Since the Start-Up Act has not been enacted, this International Entrepreneur Rule/Regulation, when implemented, is a starting point for immigrant entrepreneurs. While this solution is not comprehensive as those in countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy and many others (which seem to have more proactive campaigns and legislation for immigrant entrepreneurs), the U.S.A. is starting to formally recognize that immigration is an essential part of the nation’s economic growth strategy and future. It is suggested that perhaps the U.S.A. could provide more proactive legislation and incentives to further attract top entrepreneurs from around the world as immigrant entrepreneurs are essential to the U.S.A.’s economic growth, future and diversity.
*The following is for general information only. None of these materials is offered, nor should any of it be construed, as legal advice.