A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

USCIS Initiatives for Entrepreneurs and High Skilled Workers - EB2 Workers, NIW Petitions, H1B Self-Petitions, etc.

USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas announced recently in a blog post several new initiatives to encourage entrepreneurs and high-skilled workers to bolster the U.S. economy and stimulate job growth.   Director Mayorkas noted that the U.S. has a long history of welcoming innovative entrepreneurs and skilled workers into our country, and in turn they would fuel the nation's economy by creating jobs, and promoting new technologies and ideas.   It is the Obama Administration's policy to continue this long standing tradition.  Consequently, a series of new policy, operational, and outreach efforts will be pushed out by USCIS to help expand the nation's economy and stimulate investment by making it easier for high-skill immigrants to start business enterprises and create job opportunities in America.   Fully supported by the Department of Homeland Security, these measures will also ensure that America will continue to innovate and compete in a global economy. Specifically, these measures will include:
 (1) Allow immigrant entrepreneurs to 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 (NIW) under the EB-2 immigrant visa category if they can establish that their business endeavors will benefit an important interest of the United States – This is a breakthrough for self-employed applicants, whose immigrant petitions have been subject to very strict scrutiny.  
(2) Expand the Premium Processing Service to immigrant petitions for multinational executives and managers – This new policy will speed up the application process for key employees and managers to immigrate to the U.S.
(3) Clarify when a sole employee-entrepreneur can establish a valid employer-employee relationship for the purposes of qualifying for an H-1B non-immigrant visa – Clarification of this sticky issue will make the H-1B program more predictable and versatile for the professional entrepreneurs.
(4) Enhance and streamline the EB-5 (Investor Visa Program) process based directly on stakeholder feedback – This step will make it easier for foreigners to invest their capital and to create job opportunities in the U.S.
(5) Launch new engagement opportunities to seek input and feedback on how to address the unique circumstances of entrepreneurs, new businesses and startup companies.  For example: the Director launched "Conversations with the Director," which is a new series of small group meetings to be held to discuss immigration issues important to communities around the country.   
In today's global economy, both cash investment and human capital are essential for any country to grow its economy.   

We applaud these concrete efforts of USCIS to facilitate the inflow of capital and skilled workers into the U.S.  We will continue to report any concrete plans for the implementation of these new initiatives.  

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