On August 2, 2011, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas outlined a series of policy, operational, and outreach efforts to fuel the nation’s economy and stimulate investment. These initiatives will allow the nation to realize the potential of current immigration laws to attract the best and brightest from around the world to invest their talents, skills and ideas to contribute to the U.S. economy and help create American jobs.
Availability of EB-2 National Interest Waivers to Entrepreneurs—Entrepreneurs may obtain an employment-based second preference (EB-2) immigrant visa if they satisfy the existing requirements, and also may qualify for a National Interest Waiver under the EB-2 immigrant visa category if they can demonstrate that their business endeavors will be in the interest of the United States. USCIS will also conduct internal training on the unique characteristics of entrepreneurial enterprises and startup companies and incorporate input from the upcoming stakeholder engagements detailed below.
The EB-2 visa classification includes foreign workers with advanced degrees and individuals of exceptional ability in the arts, sciences or business. Generally, an EB-2 visa petition requires a job offer and a Department of Labor certification. These requirements can be waived under existing law if the petitioner demonstrates that approval of the EB-2 visa petition would be in the national interest of the United States.
Availability of H-1B Visas to Entrepreneurs—Entrepreneurs with an ownership stake in their own companies, including sole employees, may be able to establish the necessary employer-employee relationship to obtain an H-1B visa, if they can demonstrate that the company has the independent right to control their employment.
New Procedures for Processing EB-5 Petitions—USCIS is enhancing the EB-5 immigrant investor program by transforming the intake and review process. In May, USCIS proposed fundamental enhancements to streamline the EB-5 process which include: extending the availability of premium processing for certain EB-5 applications and petitions; implementing direct lines of communication between the applicants and USCIS; and providing applicants with the opportunity for an interview before a USCIS panel of experts to resolve outstanding issues in an application. After reviewing stakeholder feedback on the proposal, USCIS will begin implementing the first of these enhancements within the next 30 days.