While most immigrants who arrive in the United States seek to work in others’ businesses, there are a small amount who seek to start businesses of their own, and to employ others. The previous administration had sought to institute a rule called the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) which would permit certain potential immigrants to be paroled into the U.S. if they met certain criteria. However, as of May 25, 2018, this rule is slated to be rescinded if no sufficient challenge is mounted. Immigrants who plan to start businesses in the U.S., or who work for an immigrant-owned business, should be aware of this because it may affect their employment status, or even their immigration status.
Rule Created Jobs
At the time of its issuance, the IER was hailed as a positive development because of its potential to create jobs for U.S. citizens and immigrants alike. If a potential immigrant was able to show that he or she (1) possessed a “substantial interest” in a startup created in the U.S. in the past five years and were in a position to help that company grow; and (2) that he or she and the company could provide a “significant public benefit” to the country via domestic and foreign investment and job creation (or otherwise merited an exercise of discretion), then he or she would be paroled into the country for a specific period of time. The presence of these well-placed people was a general net positive for many companies.
A perhaps unintended eventuality of these entrepreneurs being granted parole was the tendency to hire other immigrants, even going so far as to sponsor many for H1B visas or other work visas in order to bring them into the country. However, if the IER is rescinded as proposed by the current administration, these workers may find themselves in a somewhat difficult immigration situation, to say nothing of the management.
What Can I Do?
If you are a worker at a company run by one paroled under the IER, you may find yourself without a sponsoring employer, which normally means that you must begin the immigration process again. If an employment authorization is approved, it is generally only approved for one employer and one specific job. However, there is an exception. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does recognize what is referred to as a successor company in interest. If a company is purchased or restructured, rather than dissolved, the successor entity may use the previous company’s approved certifications to bring that worker or workers to the country.
If you are an entrepreneur who had been seeking to invest in the U.S., there may be little that can be done as of this writing, unfortunately; the way the law reads if the IER is removed provides no advance parole for investors. The country would revert back to the system in force before the rule, meaning that investors would be subject to the same long waits and regulations as any other person seeking to move to the United States (either temporarily or permanently).
Contact an Immigration Attorney
While the IER has had an eventful run, it may end under the current administration if nothing changes. Either way, if you have questions about your employment status, contacting a knowledgeable attorney can be helpful. The passionate Chicago employment visa attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC can sit down with you and try to help answer any questions you may have. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation.
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