August 3, 2017

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Tech groups urge administration to reconsider 'startup visa'

By
Ali Breland
The Hill

(This story originally appeared in The Hill on August 3, 2017)

A coalition of 60 groups representing technology interests is pressing the Trump administration to change its tack on the international entrepreneur rule, which would have made it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to bring their businesses to the U.S.

In a letter organized and led by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), a trade association representing venture capital and startup interests in politics, the groups wrote that the rule is in line with the administration's positions.

“President Trump has made winning the global competition for jobs a priority of his administration and we appreciate his stated focus on making our country the best place in the world to create a new enterprise,” the group of signatories wrote in a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acting Secretary Elaine Duke.

“The International Entrepreneur Rule will allow the world’s best entrepreneurs to create jobs in our country, rather than overseas where they will then compete with American workers and companies,” they continued.

Other signatories included tech trade associations like the Internet Association and TechNet, who represent the likes of Amazon and Google, and Engine, a startup advocacy group.

Former President Obama had previously tried to establish the rule, colloquially referred to as the “startup visa.” The rule was set to go into effect this year but was delayed by the Trump administration. Had it been enacted, entrepreneurs in foreign countries meeting certain requirements would be eligible to bring their businesses to the U.S. for two years with the potential to stay longer after.

In July, the DHS delayed the rule from going into effect until March 14, 2018, saying that the “delay will provide DHS with an opportunity to obtain comments from the public regarding a proposal to rescind the rule.”

The groups who signed on to Thursday’s letter are fighting to keep this from happening.

“While we are disappointed that after three years of input from the private and public sector that the benefits of the rule have been delayed, the administration can still embrace the economic benefits the International Entrepreneur Rule will bring,” they wrote. “The administration can do this by not seeking to rescind the rule."

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