Zuckerberg group proposes changes to Obama ‘startup visas’

Zuckerberg group proposes changes to Obama ‘startup visas’
© Getty Images

The immigration advocacy group associated with Mark Zukerberg is offering up recommendations for a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposal that would allow foreign entrepreneurs to come to the United States.

The group, FWD.us, submitted the revisions jointly with a coalition of 23 other groups, tech founders and tech executives. The submission was made as part of the of the the DHS’s 45-day period for comment on their proposed International Entrepreneur Rule or “startup visa.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The rule would allow the DHS to evaluate business owners interested coming to the U.S. on a case-by-case basis, pending certain criteria. FWD.us’s recommendations call for changes to the qualifying criteria to make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to come to the United States.

In their comment to the DHS, FWD.us outlined six eligibility revisions to the rule: reducing the minimum funding of a business in question from $345,000 to $250,000 from U.S. investors; increasing the visa term from a potential of five years to eight; broadening the definition of a U.S. investor; reducing the amount of jobs a startup must create; improving paths to permanent residence; and providing clearer guidelines for leaner, bootstrapped companies who don’t have significant investors.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO Consumer Technology Association (CTA) spoke favorably of the rule. 

“While we wait for Congress to take action on immigration reform, we welcome the White House's new 'startup visa' proposal to attract and retain the world's best and brightest talent,” Shapiro said. His organization is one of the 23 entities who supported FWD.us’s comments.

FWD.us, who is affiliated with high-profile individuals in tech like Bill Gates and Marissa Mayer, has been an outspoken advocate for immigration reform and revisions to the H-1B visa.

The White House has supported the DHS’s proposal, which does not require congressional approval and sprang from an executive action that President Obama took in 2014.