In an extremely unique and encouraging move aimed towards faciliating the growth of startups in the country, a regulatory body in the United States has proposed a brand new rule wherein it will let international entrepreneurs and startup founders fulfilling a certain criteria be considered for parole, so that they may work within the state to kick off or boost their businesses here in the US.
The announcement was made by Director León Rodríguez of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Speaking on the topic, he said
America’s economy has long benefitted from the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs, from Main Street to Silicon Valley. This proposed rule, when finalized, will help our economy grow by expanding immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment and generating revenue in the U.S.
The move will let startup founder stay on in the country for a period of up to two years and several restrictions will be waived off for him/her provided that he fulfills the conditions.
Staying on in the USA can be extremely hard for businessmen looking to nurture their brand new startup with the help of America’s ecosystem. With places like the Silicon valley, the US is every startup founders dream destination. But even assuming that you have the means to get there, staying on in the country can be extremely hard.
First off, depending upon where you are applying for, getting a Visa can be a mountainous task in itself. Even assuming that they receive the Visa, staying on for extended periods, which is quite important considering the nature of the job of a founder, can be very, very hard. However, these hard and fast rules mean that the US loses out some benefits brought about by startups to the country.
This is exactly what the new measure is hoping to change. However, US is also making sure that only those who are actually of any good to the ecosystem will be able to benefit from the rule. The folks benefiting from the new rule are,
Who have a significant ownership interest in the startup (at least 15 percent) and have an active and central role to its operations.
Whose startup was formed in the United States within the past three years.
Whose startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, asevidenced by.
Receiving significant investment of capital (at least$345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments.
Receiving significant awards orgrants (at least $100,000) from certain federal, state or local government entities.
Partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria in addition to other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
So yes, the US is not exactly looking for idea stage or concept stage startups. Instead, its looking for businesses that can add real value to the ecosystem. Once the two year period is up, founders can also apply for an extension of upto three years but that is not too easy to get either.
The extension will be granted only if the entrepreneur and the startup entity continue to provide a significant public benefit to the US. Which will be measured and evidenced by substantial increases in its capital investment, revenue or the job creation.
The proposed rule will let the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deploy the existing structure and use its discretionary statutory parole authority for entrepreneurs differently. Those startup founders whose stay in the United States would provide significant public benefits and display substantial potential for rapid business growth and job creation, will be allowed this relaxation.
It doesn’t however mean that the rule is already passed. Its just a proposal at the moment and only the notice of proposed rule making is published in the Federal Register. The public will have 45 days from the date of publication to comment.
Meanwhile, developing countries can learn a lot from this unique move. United states is making sure that it only takes in the best possible startup founders and let them stay and work in the country. Startups that have come so far so as to meet the qualifications set by the US are quite likely to go even further.
Once that actually happens and the startup manages to grow using the superior facilities and better economic conditions of the US, it will be able to give back in a massive way by affecting the economy positively, creating jobs, filling the treasury etc.
Take Flipkart for example, although it did not benefit from any particular government scheme for startups, together it employs over 30,000 employees and contributes massively to the ecosystem with its $10 billion valuation. Its actually in an economy’s benefit to encourage companies and nurture their growth.
Imagine a string of such startups in a country and think of all the assorted benefits that would be brought about by them. Its only a proposal yet, but i bet that most Americans, those that are smart at least, are keeping their fingers crossed for it to become a rule.