Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas recently outlined a series of policy, operational, and outreach actions to foster immigrant entrepreneurship and stimulate investment. The actions are intended to emphasize the potential of current immigration laws to attract highly-skilled individuals from around the world, including foreign physicians and other medical professionals, so they may invest their talents and ideas to help grow the U.S. economy.
Availability of H-1B Visas to Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs with an ownership stake in their own companies, including sole employees, may be able to establish the necessary employer-employee relationship to obtain an H1-B visa, if they can demonstrate that the company has the independent right to control their employment.
New Procedures for Processing EB-5 Petitions
USCIS is enhancing the EB-5 immigrant investor program by transforming the intake and review process. In May 2011, USCIS proposed fundamental enhancements to streamline the EB-5 process which include: extending the availability of premium processing for certain EB-5 applications and petitions; implementing direct lines of communication between the applicants and USCIS; and providing applicants with the opportunity for an interview before a USCIS panel of experts to resolve outstanding issues in an application.
Premium Processing Service Available to Additional Employment-Based Visa Categories
USCIS will also expand its Premium Processing Service to immigrant petitions for multinational executives and managers (often referred to as “E13”). The Premium Processing Service allows employers to expedite processing of their petitions, absent evidentiary deficiencies, fraud or national security concerns. With this addition, nearly all employment-based petitions and applications will have the option of Premium Processing.
Our next article will discuss the availability of EB-2 National Interest Waivers to entrepreneurs.