UPDATED 23:15 EST / JULY 10 2017


Startup visa for foreign entrepreneurs all but killed by Trump administration

A startup visa that was supposed to give foreign entrepreneurs a chance to make it in America was all but quashed Monday by the Trump administration.

The International Entrepreneur Rule, which was the brainchild of the Obama administration, should have gone into effect next week. The visa, which was planned to be issued to just under 3,000 entrepreneurs, has now been delayed until next March while the Department of Homeland Security reviews its conditions. In a notice, the DHS said it would scrutinize the visa costs and its effectiveness, and also ask for public comment.

The writing seems to be on the wall, however, given the language the DHS uses. “An inefficient use of limited resources is not conducive to the security and economic interests of the United States,” reads the notice, which also states that the DHS “may ultimately eliminate the program.”

Foreign entrepreneurs already working in the U.S. had high hopes for the visa to come to fruition, with startup founders already saying they would have no choice but to take their company elsewhere. Countries such as the U.K., Ireland, New Zealand and Australia have special visas for foreign entrepreneurs, while Canada and France have just started similar programs to the International Entrepreneur Rule.

Entrepreneurs would have been expected to raise $250,000 in capital investments from American investors and also prove they were creating jobs for American citizens. If they could prove this, they would be granted more time to expand their company in the U.S. under a parole status. Parole status is usually only given to people in the U.S. working for humanitarian reasons or in some way significantly benefiting the public.

Critics have said that the President’s promise to create jobs and then dismantle such a visa runs contrary to his objectives. In an interview with CNN, a spokeswoman for the American Immigration Lawyers Association said, “This is not good immigration policy and not good for entrepreneurs or for our nation as a whole, particularly given that so many working Americans are looking for job opportunities.”

Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, an immigration advocacy group backed by the tech industry, also called the move “unquestionably a setback for the United States” in the global race for talent. “We should be encouraging innovators to bring their new ideas, expertise and unique skills to our country, rather than incentivizing them to put their talents to work for our competitors abroad,” he said.

Image: Paul Papadimitriou via Flickr

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