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February - 2014 - issue > Attorney Viewpoint

Our Immigration Rules: Why Entrepreneurs Stand a Chance

Sameer Khedekar
Monday, February 10, 2014
Sameer Khedekar
Our Immigration Rules: Why Entrepreneurs Stand a Chance
These are exciting times for entrepreneurs, and there should also be great opportunities for foreign entrepreneurs in the U.S. This is because enterprise founders really do have a series of legitimate immigration options at their disposal, notwithstanding the common (and wholly understandable) sentiment that the path to visa/green card sponsorship is laden with pitfalls, booby traps, and land mines.

Pending the (extremely) long-awaited creation of a “startup visa,” the following is a list of options that actually exist and have been implemented successfully by entrepreneurs in the very recent past:

Yes – you can use the H-1B!–Keep in mind that at a high level, the H-1B visa merely requires that an employee have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, and that he or she be sponsored by a U.S. company for a job that is complex enough to require a bachelor’s degree. There is nothing in that rule that excludes its application to company founders, who are also salaried employees for the companies they form.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped the government from being suspicious. They are largely worried about fraud, and so they give more scrutiny to petitions from small companies that are ostensibly more likely to file frivolous petitions. They are also concerned that a founder is not an “employee” in the sense that there is no “employer” to control their work product. Here is how you can successfully handle these issues:

•Include a detailed (but easy to read) business plan selling the government on your company, your idea, and your growth prospects;

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