Foreign immigrant entrepreneurs
living in the United States have been facing a recurring problem:  what options do they have when their visa
expires?  Many foreign-born entrepreneurs
enter the country on some type of temporary entry permit, often one related to
university study, and while they are in the US, inspiration strikes.  However, for those entrepreneurs fortunate
enough to have their idea grow roots in the US, they invariably face a dilemma
when their entry permit expires, as so many often do.  Not wanting to abandon their brainchild
start-up and return to their home country, the entrepreneurs are forced to try
to find an available visa or green card program offered by the US government
that will allow them to remain in the country.

One option that many immigrant
entrepreneurs have chosen has been the H-1B visa, a visa designed for foreign
employees working in the US.  This path
has seen mixed results.  One of the
problems with this option is that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services
department is looking for an employer-employee relationship, including the
power for the employer to fire the employee. 
However, for many start-ups, the founder is the sole employee, and
doesn't exactly have the power to fire themselves.  Some applicants try to stretch the truth and
give themselves invented titles to make them seem like more of an "employee,"
but this can often look like fraud and result in the application being denied.

But to the excitement of all foreign
born entrepreneurs who aren't quite ready to leave the United States, a new
visa bill is being introduced to Congress that may provide some answers for
those facing this dilemma.  The bill,
introduced by Senator Jerry Moran and co-sponsored by a bi-partisan coalition, requests
for various immigration reforms. 
Specifically, the bill would establish a new kind of visa specifically
for international-born entrepreneurs who are legally residing in the US, and
who can advance $100,000 in capital and employ a minimum of two US employees
during their first year of obtaining the visa. 
Then, the green card would become a four year visa with the potential to
become permanent if the entrepreneur hired a mean of five full-time workers
during the last three years of the visa. 
The visa would apply to any type of start-up business and the total
number of such visas would be capped at 75,000. 

The bill bears some similarities to
the existing EB-5 program, which was established by Congress over two decades
ago as a means to stimulate the US economy, encourage job growth and boost
capital investment by deep-pocketed immigrant investors.  The EB-5 program grants US green cards to immigrant
investors and their dependents, allowing them to become permanent US residents,
in exchange for either a $1 Million investment in any desired area within the
US, or a $500,000 investment into a project situated in a high unemployment or rural
area.  In order to become a permanent
residency permit, the investment must create a minimum of ten full-time, jobs
for qualified workers within two years. 
The key difference between the EB-5 program and the new visa program
being proposed is that the new visa is targeted solely at entrepreneurs, while
the EB-5 program is open to anyone with the money to afford it.

EB-5 program has faced criticism in the past for the perceived difficulty of
tracking the investments and their employment impacts, but has on the whole
received consistent bi-partisan support. 
This new program may be able to build on the lessons of the EB-5 visa
program, and if it provides a path to permanent residency to entrepreneurs who
want to live, work and create jobs in the United States, then it will likely
also be seen as a win-win bill by all. 

 To gain more insight on the EB-5 process and obtain access to professionals please visit