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New immigration initiatives aimed at attracting entrepreneurs

The United States is gearing up to welcome many more entrepreneurs from outside of its borders. The chief of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said the country has several initiatives aimed to attract and retain technologically-savvy immigrant entrepreneurs, thereby sparking growth in the country's economy.

The decision was made because more and more software entrepreneurs are taking their company to other countries due to the difficulty to obtain temporary work visas and permanent residency in the United States.

The plan will not require congress to change current immigration law, instead it will clarify existing visa categories to allow more entrepreneurs to lawfully enter the country through a quicker and more efficient visa-application process.

One idea is to make the qualifications for green cards, or permanent resident cards, easier to obtain if the individual can show that their work will benefit the country. Another idea is to allow entrepreneurs to get work visas without already having a job offer at an established company.

Citizenship and Immigration Services also plans to encourage the use of H-1Bs visas amongst foreign entrepreneurs. For example, a sole entrepreneur will be eligible for an H-1B if his or her employment is granted by a corporate board or shareholders of the start-up company.

Additionally, the EB-5 investor program will see changes, giving investors and their families the chance to be qualified for green cards if $500,000 is invested in a project which creates at least ten employee positions.

Finally, the approval process for the green card application is expected to be faster, with the agency hiring people to evaluate applications and allowing petitioners to present themselves before a panel if the application needs further evidence.

The Citizenship and Immigration Services official said the agency will train employees on how the new clarifications apply to the entrepreneurs. The measures are expected to welcome tens of thousands of start-up businesses and their entrepreneurs, which could provide the country with hundreds of thousands of potential jobs.

These clarifications in the immigration policy for foreign entrepreneurs present an excellent time to come to America to start up your own business. Talk to an attorney who specializes in business and employment-based immigration for more information.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "U.S. to Assist Immigrant Job Creators," Miriam Jordan, Aug. 2, 2011.

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