A new online resource centre has been launched in the United States to provide foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a business in the country with the knowledge they need to navigate the immigration process.
Called Entrepreneur Pathways, it is part of a bigger plan to encourage more entrepreneurs to start up.
‘We are working to realise our current immigration system’s full potential to attract and retain start up enterprises that promote innovation and spur job creation in America,’ said Alejandro Mayorkas, director of the US Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS).
‘The first phase has already led to unique improvements in our programmes and enabled us to better serve immigrant entrepreneurs,’ added Mayorkas.
It is part of the USCIS Entrepreneurs in Residence initiative launched earlier this year which draws on industry expertise to strengthen USCIS policies and practices critical to American economic growth.
The team comprises start up business experts and USCIS immigration experts working collaboratively over a short period of time to streamline pathways for a range of existing non-immigrant visa categories often used by entrepreneurs.
‘This initiative is so innovative and progressive. It’s all about finding pragmatic solutions,’ said EIR team member and vice president of strategic and community development and chief ecosystem builder at SoftLayer Technologies Paul Ford.
‘USCIS’s officers and leadership clearly want to deliver quality services to people who want to invest, work and live in the United States. They have embraced our input and did something with it,’ he added.
In addition to creating Entrepreneur Pathways, the EIR team is developing a training workshop for USCIS employment based immigration officers that focuses on start up businesses and the environment for early stage innovations.
It also has a trained a team of specialised immigration officers to handle entrepreneur and start up cases and developed a plan for quarterly engagements with the entrepreneurial community to ensure that USCIS stays current with industry practices.
To sustain the momentum and build on the team’s accomplishments, USCIS has extended the EIR project until April 2013. Among other things, the team will expand its focus to immigrant visa pathways that may enable foreign entrepreneurs to start a business in the United States within current immigration law.