Oct 14, 2016
GANDSInvestors Submits Comment to Proposed International Entrepreneur Rule; Advocates for EB-5 Regulatory Reforms
This week, GANDSInvestors team members Jonathan Grode and Matthew Galati submitted a comment to USCIS’ Proposed Rule for International Entrepreneurs. A full copy of our comment is publicly available and attached. As we discussed earlier, the proposed grant of parole to these entrepreneurs could be a game-changer given that many individuals and their companies may fall outside the existing visa classifications.
We welcome USCIS’ efforts to implement this new benefits regime. However, we noted a few areas of improvement that can be made on the draft provisions. Some of our suggestions are as follows:
1. Adjudications of entrepreneurial parole requests must be efficient. We are optimistic that this program will be very popular. Yet we are justifiably concerned that long processing times due to volume could jeopardize use of the program. We’ve suggested that USCIS consider raising filing fees to ensure adequate staffing, and allow for concurrent jurisdiction for filings at local offices and CBP (as some existing types of parole requests are done) to allow for timely adjudication.
2. The definition of “qualified investment” and “qualified investor” should be broadened. As drafted, the proposed rule does not account for new types of fundraising, such as crowdsourcing. We believe that foreign sources of investment and grants should also qualify. Further, by allowing the entrepreneur’s own funds to qualify, we could see this rule reinvigorate the “Entrepreneurial Direct” EB-5 visa.
3. EB-5 investors should be able to concurrently file Form I-485 if visas are available. Currently, the regulations allow that immigrant visa beneficiaries may concurrently file Form I-485 in all of the preference categories except EB-4 and EB-5, where visa numbers are immediately available. This gap creates dangers of lawful nonimmigrants falling out of status due to lengthy Form I-526 adjudication times and entrepreneurs lacking employment authorization to fully take the helm of their businesses. USCIS may fix this by regulation, which would drastically improve current issues faced by investors. EB-5 regulatory reforms fit squarely within President Obama’s directive spurring the draft rule and USCIS should not forego the opportunity of addressing shortcomings within the immigrant investor program at this time.
4. USCIS should have Entrepreneurial Parole provide a bridge to a Green Card. Specifically, we see a great opportunity for entrepreneurial parolees to be considered prima facie qualified for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver by maintaining their businesses and parole for three years. Making this change would greatly facilitate entrepreneurs’ immigration into the U.S. and avoid uncertainty about status upon the end of the parole period.
The comment window remains open until October 17. Members of the public may submit comments online.