U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that it is proposing to eliminate the International Entrepreneur Parole Program (“IE Parole Program”), and is seeking public comment on its proposed rule to end the program. If the IE Parole Program is formally ended, then DHS will remove its regulations governing the adjudication of “significant public benefit parole requests” for certain international entrepreneurs, who will then no longer be eligible to receive temporary parole to start businesses and work in the United States, and must pursue other employment-based immigrant or nonimmigrant visa classifications for which they may qualify.
The IE Parole Program consists of a set of regulations published on January 17, 2017, setting forth procedures and criteria for international entrepreneurs who can demonstrate that their activities in the United States would provide a “significant public benefit,” to allow these international entrepreneurs to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for temporary parole authorizing their employment in connection with starting up and developing new business entities. An entrepreneur establishes eligibility for temporary parole under the IE Parole Program “by showing that, among other things, the start-up entity in which he or she is an entrepreneur received significant capital investment from U.S. investors with established records of successful investments or obtained significant awards or grants from certain Federal, State, or local government entities.”
Now, according to DHS, the IE Parole Program “is not the appropriate vehicle for attracting and retaining international entrepreneurs and does not adequately protect U.S. investors and U.S. workers employed by or seeking employment with the start-up.”
It is unfortunate that DHS is proposing to reverse its regulations so soon after publishing the IE Final Rule. The IE Parole Program was intended to address shortcomings in existing employment-based immigrant (e.g., EB-5 visa) and nonimmigrant programs (e.g., E-2 visa) that prevented foreign entrepreneurs from starting businesses and creating jobs in the United States. The elimination of the program would close off an avenue for certain foreign-born entrepreneurs, who might not qualify for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa, E-2 nonimmigrant visa, EB-5 immigrant visa, or other employment-based visa, to apply for work permission that would allow them to remain here temporarily while focusing on developing their start-up entities.
The Law Offices of Timothy D. Widman is a full-service immigration law firm handling corporate immigration law, employment-based immigration, business immigration, family-sponsored immigration, and citizenship matters. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.