If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may know that Watson Immigration Law is eagerly waiting for the introduction of a possible EB6 visa for Start Ups and entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing when this will actually happen. There are two possible bills pending in congress that could introduce the EB6 visa.
In the interim, the government does appear to be trying to work within the current laws and regulations to make improvements. To this end, yesterday on August 2nd 2011, the Director of USCIS, Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano outlined some new policy, operational and outreach efforts that would allow high-skill immigrants to start and grow companies and create jobs in the US. USCIS will expand the use of the EB2 category (employment-based second preference) for entrepreneurs and implement enhancements to the EB5 category. USCIS will provide additional guidance and clarification at a later date about what the above will entail.
As it stands, the USCIS has announced on their website the following policy: Entrepreneneurs are now recognized as ‘an individual of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.” Therefore, entrepreneurs will qualify for visas under the EB2 category as well as under the National Interest Waiver category which will allow to bypass the labor certification process. In addition, USCIS will provide clarification in which a self-employed entrepreneur can now apply for an H1b visa.
USCIS is also considering 3 major enhancements to the EB5 visa process. (1) to accelerate processing and to provide a premium processing option, (2) to create a specialized intake team with expertize in economic analysis and (3) to create an expert decision board to adjudicate regional center applications.
I am encouraged that entrepreneurs can now have at least the option of a visa under the existing EB2 category, albeit the standards are still very high and onerous. I am also encouraged that an H1b visa will be possible for a self-employed entreprenaur. It remains to be seen how all this will play out in practice. However, I am hopeful that until an EB6 visa is in fact launched, these improvements could help some of my clients (not all).
If you think you may be eligible for any of the above visas, feel free to contact us to discuss your case.