News Flash: Obama Administration to Grant Temporary Visas to Foreign Entrepreneurs

  • By Susan Burns
  • 30 Aug, 2016

In the final months of his tenure, President Obama has laid the groundwork for a special visa to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to start their companies in the United States. On August 26th, the Department of Homeland Security published the White House's proposed  International Entrepreneur Rule .

If enacted, this rule will grant temporary, two-year visas to foreign entrepreneurs on a case-by-case basis for start-up entities that would provide a "significant public benefit to the United States." This sentiment seems to fit perfectly with the emerging popularity of benefit corporations in the U.S.

To be eligible as a foreign entrepreneur, you must show that your startup has demonstrated potential for rapid growth and job creation. This can be shown, for example by having obtained financing from qualified U.S. investors, or obtaining awards or research grants from various government entities.

After the initial two-year visa, you may apply for an additional three-year visa if you can show that your company continues to provide significant benefit, including that is has grown and will continue to grow--measured by increases in capital investment, job creation, and revenue.  

This proposed rule is currently open for a public comment period of 45 days, and does not take effect until the final rule is published.

In his final State of the Union Address, President Obama noted that "America is every immigrant and entrepreneur from Boston to Austin to Silicon Valley, racing to shape a better world. That's who we are." We look forward to the future entrepreneurship that the International Entrepreneur Rule paves the way for.

For additional information, or to stay informed of developments, please be sure to sign up for my mailing list at the bottom of this web page.

Until next time,

Susan


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The American Bar Association Section of International sponsored this event with the intention of presenting US, Mexican, and Canadian standpoints on the TPP and the impact of its passage on NAFTA. What followed was a thoughtful and informative discussion, and although the topic is highly complex, I thought I'd share some highlights with you.

 

Ms. Sierra explained some of the political context surrounding the TPP, including that the US has historically been pro-trade, and this is the first time since 1992 that trade has been a significant issue in presidential election year politics. US FTAs are modeled after NAFTA. The agreement eliminates a significant number of tariffs that would be beneficial to US businesses, but there are dissenting voices. Some of the concerns include employment issues, the manipulation of currencies by various countries, and opposition in specific industries such as auto, segments of agriculture and pharmaceuticals and biologics whose concerns were not addressed in the agreement. For example, intellectual property protection for biologics is not included in the agreement.

 

Mr. Lopez pointed out the benefits of NAFTA--growth in trade between Mexico and the US, especially--and explained that the TPP is intended to expand upon this growth, with attention to subjects that were treated less comprehensively in NAFTA. Another goal of TPP, in Mr. Lopez' view, is to strengthen Mexico's ties to NAFTA and other FTA partners, allowing Mexican goods to reach new markets.

 

Mr. Kanargelidis noted that the TPP is not intended to replace or override NAFTA, but that the two agreements can co-exist. He pointed out US, Mexican, and Canadian businesses can operate under the clauses of whichever agreement is most favorable to them in a given transaction. For example, the "de minimis" value threshold is 10% under TPP, and only 7% under NAFTA.

 

An audience member posed the question of whether TPP shipments will be exempt from US Merchandise Processing Fees (MPF) like NAFTA shipments are. Mr. Guzman explained that even though TPP does away with "ad valorem" fees, US Customs might find another way to collect MPF that is compliant with the agreement. He also described the TPP's "focused value" methodology for determining goods' origin, which might be more stringent than NAFTA methods.

 

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The TPP has been negotiated between 12 countries who together form about 40% of GDP, and 1/3 of world trade. The agreement is of an unprecedented scope, and the implications of this agreement are huge. We will soon know if it can pass during the lame-duck session before the election, which is fast approaching!

 

To learn more about the TPP, visit this site . The full text of the agreement can be found here .

 

Sources:

Granville, Kevin. “The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Explained.” The New York Times. 20 August 2016. Web.

 “The Trans-Pacific Partnership.” Office of the United States Trade Representative. Executive Office of the President. 2016. Web.
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