For the past 3 months, I have been working on improving the state of our immigration system with a group of entrepreneurs, investors, and other experts as part of the Entrepreneur in Residence program held by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
This Monday, we discussed some of our findings and recommendations for improving the immigration process for entrepreneurs at an event at Georgia Tech. The event was attended by faculty, students, immigration professionals, and others interested in the issue.
The EIR program is designed to bring together experts to find pathways to optimize the current immigration system for foreign-born immigrants who want to start or grow their businesses in the United States. These entrepreneurs represent a key factor in the growth of the U.S. economy, building successful businesses that generate revenue as well as creating American jobs. In a global economy, it is vital that this country retain the top worldwide talent and businesses in order to compete. I wrote more about the program at the beginning of my residency.
Key areas that we have specifically looked into are the process include the confusing multitude of visa options, training of immigration officers, and policy.
One of the most confusing decisions for an entrepreneur is deciding which of the many visas they should petition for; there is H-1, L, O, OPT for recent grads, etc. We will be launching soon a web resource for entrepreneurs to understand what the requirements for each of those classifications are and what evidence to provide for support.
We also see the training of immigration workers to be a key area where we can implement change: we’ve designed and rolled out training for visa adjudicators on issues such as startup structures, financing, documentation, and operations.
There is still more work to be done in this initiative, particularly on the policy side, so we’ve decided to extend the program for an additional 9 months to continue on this effort. You can follow what we’re doing at USCIS, and stay up to date with other measures to reform immigration, like Startup Act, here on Engine.is.