WASHINGTON, DC – The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) issued the following statement today after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed to rescind the International Entrepreneur Rule, which would allow for talented immigrant entrepreneurs to remain in the U.S. to build and scale their startups.
“The startup and venture community is very disappointed with DHS’s short-sighted decision to turn away American jobs that would be created by the International Entrepreneur Rule,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “The facts are clear: our country needs more entrepreneurship, which is exactly what the International Entrepreneur Rule would bring. We will continue to explain to the administration why immigrant entrepreneurship benefits our country and must be supported by policymakers.”
Finalized by the Obama Administration, the rule allows foreign-born entrepreneurs to launch high-growth startups in the U.S. These immigrant entrepreneurs can remain in the U.S. for two and a half years, with the possible extension of another two and a half years. Less than a week before the IER was to go into effect on July 17, 2017, DHS announced that the rule would be delayed and that DHS intended to rescind the final rule. NVCA and the other plaintiffs argued that because DHS did not solicit advance comment from the public on the delay, it therefore violated clear requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. On December 1, 2017, United States District Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of NVCA and its co-plaintiffs. The ruling compelled DHS to dispense with its delay and to implement the program. Despite the court order, DHS has not moved forward with any applications under the International Entrepreneur Rule. As a result, on May 9, 2018, NVCA and its co-plaintiffs filed a motion for discovery in federal court to determine whether DHS is fully complying with the court order.
The delay and announced intention to rescind IER comes at a time of increased global competition for entrepreneurship. The U.S. share of global venture capital investment has dropped precipitously from 90% twenty years ago to 54% last year. Countries like Canada, France, Germany, and Singapore have put in place ‘startup visas’ to bring new companies to their shores. The world’s best immigrant entrepreneurs now have many choices on where to start a new enterprise, and the International Entrepreneur Rule would facilitate these job creators launching a startup in the United States, rather than overseas. Further delay of IER will only harm the U.S. economy.