USCIS Entrepreneurs in Residence Initiative: Will This Help Your Business or Your Case?

Today, USCIS announced an "Entrepreneurs in Residence" Initiative. According to the USCIS press release, the goal of the initiative is to help USCIS “fully realiz[e] the job-creating potential of current immigration law.”

According to Director Mayorkas, “this initiative creates additional opportunities for USCIS to gain insights in areas critical to economic growth. The introduction of expert views from the private and public sector will help us to ensure that our policies and processes fully realize the immigration law’s potential to create and protect American jobs.”

How Does This Work?

USCIS says it will kick-off the initiative with a series of informational summits with industry leaders “to gather high-level strategic input.” Armed with information from these summits, the agency will then organize a group of entrepreneurs and experts to work with USCIS personnel to “design and implement effective solutions.”

No other specifics of the program were included in the press release, nor was a timeline included.

What Does This Really Mean?

There are several possibilities for the rationale behind this innovative program. This could be a true collaborative effort by both the Obama administration and USCIS to take what we have, in terms of current immigration laws, and make the best of them, meaning make sure that they are being applied fairly and correctly so that entrepreneurs from other countries will be encouraged and supported in starting companies in the US that will ultimately create new jobs. There are of course other possible reasons for the program as well.

Interestingly, and perhaps only coincidentally, this announcement followed on the heels of Vivek Wadhwa’s call for immigration reform for skilled workers in an effort to “keep the job creators in the US.” (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/wadhwa-urges-us-to-fix-policy-on-skilled-immigration/2011/10/10/gIQA1YwAbL_video.html.)

What will the end result of this program be? I would love to hear from you as to what you think. Do you think that anything will change as a result? Would such changes improve the business environment for you, or hurt it? Do you think USCIS’s adjudication policies and processes will become more balanced, consistent, and fair? Or do you think they will become more restrictive? Please leave your comments below!

Did you know? Emily Sumner is an immigration lawyer practicing in Richmond, VA at Sumner Immigration Law. She can be reached at info@sumnerimmigration.com.

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