Obama administration proposes visa rule for immigrant entrepreneurs

The Obama administration on Friday proposed immigration rules that would allow foreign-born entrepreneurs to remain in the United States for up to five years if they own a significant stake in a start-up company with the potential for “rapid business growth and job creation.”

Immigrant entrepreneurs who hold an ownership interest of at least 15 percent and have an “active and central role” in the company’s operations are eligible to apply for parole, or temporary permission to remain in the United States, for up to two years. If granted, they can apply to extend the parole for an additional three years.

But not every engineer with a novel idea will make the cut. To qualify, the start-up must have raised at least $345,000 from qualified U.S. investors or received $100,000 in grants from select government agencies. Other “reliable and compelling evidence” of the venture’s ability to grow and add jobs may also meet the criteria.

Those for and against the proposal have 45 days to comment before a final rule is adopted.