Asking Entrepreneurs for Help Improving the U.S. Visa Process

Oct 12 2011

Asking Entrepreneurs for Help Improving the U.S. Visa Process

by crd_admin in Blog

Business schools and venture capital firms have long organized entrepreneur-in-residence programs, tapping seasoned founders for a year or two to mentor students or evaluate potential investments.

Now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is launching what it calls its own “Entrepreneurs in Residence” initiative to bring business leaders and academics into the agency to meet regularly with officials to improve the visa process. The goal is “capturing the full power of the laws that currently exist to attract talent to spur entrepreneurial growth, to maximize innovation — all for the benefit of our economy and the American worker,” says agency director Alejandro Mayorkas.

The program is the latest in a handful of streamlining efforts led by USCIS this year, including changes to the 21-year-old EB-5 immigrant investor program that offers foreigners permanent U.S. residency if they invest in companies that create jobs.

Specifics on the push Mayorkas announced today are still being hammered out. Names of the participants and mechanics on how the in-person meetings will work haven’t been announced yet, though he expects to in the next week or so.

Mayorkas notes that processes involved in procuring every visa type–from the O-1 visas used by artists to the H2-As used by agricultural workers–could be reviewed by the dozen or so participating business folks and academics during the sessions with agency staffers.

Vivek Wadhwa weighed in on the initiative earlier today, noting he hears stories regularly from foreign entrepreneurs whose visa applications are rejected by USCIS.