U.S. Visa Opportunity for Entrepreneurs & PH. D Graduates on the Horizon

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Over the last few years, the U.S. House of Representatives has been consistently passing new and innovative immigration legislation. This latest Bill provides a creative and much needed update to the non-immigrant visa process and outlines a few new green card options that will have a huge impact if this Bill becomes a law.

The House passed the America Competes Act which included very specific new immigration programs. The Bill outlines a new W-Visa which would apply to PhD STEM graduates in the USA and would also allow entrepreneurs with a new start up enterprise an opportunity for the visa. Another part of the legislation would allow F1 Visa students to be eligible for a separate category of green card.

Here are some of the details from the America Competes Act:

Allow more F1 students to stay after they earn advanced degrees in science and engineering at U.S. universities

  • Allow more F1 students to stay after they earn advanced degrees in science and engineering at U.S. universities
  • Exempt F1 students from the existing cap on the number of applications for permanent resident status
  • Would exempt from annual green card limits on individuals with Ph.D.’s in STEM fields
  • Create a new visa category for budding high-tech entrepreneurs, listed below:
    • Applicant must play a central and active role in the management or operations of the start-up entity
    • Must show 10% ownership interest in the new entity
    • Start-up entity must receive at least $250,000 in qualifying investments from one or more qualified investors
    • Allows for an extension of the W (temporary) status for an additional three years if the individual possesses at least a 5% ownership stake
    • Valid for 3 years with an extension for 3 additional years

Overall, this new Bill presents a creative and targeted immigration solution to an ongoing problem that we face as the U.S. competes for global competition. We need to look closely at our antiquated immigration system and find ways, like this, that can alleviate the green card backlog and address our need to draw in specialized and skilled workers from all over the world.
Keep in mind this has been passed in the House of Representatives and will now need to be passed in the Senate before it can be presented to the President for signature. Stay tuned here, we will update you once we know more.

Author: Sumeet Lall, Esq.
Editor: Marisa Chavez