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White House Announces New Immigrant Entrepreneur Law

The White House wants to make it easier for young tech entrepreneurs to stay in America and create start-up jobs. As the Washington Post reports, the Obama Administration announced a new, proposed rule that would allow immigrant entrepreneurs to stay in the country up to five years as long as they held some ownership in a U.S.-based company.

The rule, which would create a so-called "start-up" visa, is aimed to keep promising young tech professionals in the U.S. and help create exciting new products and—more importantly—jobs. "Immigrant entrepreneurs have always made exceptional contributions to America’s economy, in communities all across the country," Doug Rand (White House assistant director for entrepreneurship) and Tom Kalil (White House deputy director for technology and innovation) wrote in a blog post late last month. "Immigrants have helped start as many as one of every four small businesses and high-tech start-ups across America, and the majority of high-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley."

Start-Up Visa Requirements

Under the proposed rule, immigrants would have to meet several requirements to receive the "start-up" visa. They would already have to hold 15% ownership in a domestic business that has raised at least $345,000 from U.S. investors (or has received $100K in federal grants). They also must hold an "active and central role" in the business and be able to demonstrate that it has the potential to grow.

The new visa would potentially solve the dilemma many immigrant engineers and entrepreneurs face here in the U.S. after completing their education: an inability to maintain a legal status and further their proposed enterprise. Officials want the rule instated before Obama's final days in office in early 2017. If it goes unopposed, it could be adopted as early as October.

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