US proposes "startup visa" for entrepreneurs

"Give me your tired, your poor" are words in the poem engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty, but on Friday the US government sent a different message aimed at attracting entrepreneurs who already have backing from US investors.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed new measures to help startup founders develop their companies in the United States.

The new immigration rule would create a "startup visa" for entrepreneurs who demonstrate substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation, the White House said.

"Today marks an important step in attracting the world's best and brightest entrepreneurs to start the next great companies and create jobs here in the United States," the statement said.

A "startup visa" has always been a part of President Barack Obama's immigration reform principles, according to the White House. An attempt to pass the proposal as part of an immigration reform bill failed in 2013.

Absent legislation, the administration is "taking the steps it can" by law to see it implemented, the White House said.

The rule aims to clarify how entrepreneurs who have the backing of US investors can secure a visa. The DHS would identify promising entrepreneurs on a case-by-case basis, but said entrepreneurs would need investment of at least 345,000 dollars from qualified US investors or government grants of at least 100,000 dollars.

The decision of whether to grant the visa would be based on other factors, including the entrepreneur's ownership stake and leadership role in his or her company, as well as the startup's growth potential.

The proposed rule would allow the entrepreneur to remain in the US for up to two years. That could be followed by up to three years, contingent on certain benchmarks.

The proposed rule is open for public comment for 45 days to allow interested parties a chance to provide feedback before it takes effect.

Last update: Fri, 26/08/2016 - 20:04

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