18 February 2020 - Article
Head of Immigration Reaz Jafri was quoted in Business Insider UK on the Department of Homeland Security delays to the International Entrepreneur Rule, six days before it was set to go into effect. The rule allows overseas startup founders who can prove that they can create jobs in the US and who have at least $250,000 in capital invested from US investors can apply to work in the US for two and a half years, even longer if successful.
Entrepreneurs are now asking if the delay will inhibit entrepreneurial activity in the US.
“If you're a young entrepreneur sitting in Singapore or wherever, you'll say, 'I don't want to deal with that headache,'” Reaz Jafri, a partner and the head of immigration law at the law firm Withers Bergman, told Business Insider. “These guys just want to launch their businesses. They'll leverage technology and other things to launch their businesses. They're just not going to do it in the US.”
He added that the rule did not create a “back door” for entrepreneurs to enter the country without being vetted. “The person has to go through a background check,” he said.
Jafri, who has represented Silicon Valley startups and US enterprises looking to recruit international talent, said that in conversations with foreign startup founders, he had picked up on a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the immigration process.
“I do think it will end up having a very chilling effect,” he said. “This rule is basically a job-creation rule. It's allowing those people that want to start companies that will create jobs and benefit the US to be here. It's a job-creation rule, and we don't want to do it.”
“I'm not at all optimistic that they'll actually come back and pick this up,” he said. “I would love to be proven wrong.”