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Trump Administration Moves to Dismantle Obama’s ‘Startup Visa’ Rule

11 Jul

By Douglas MacMillan | July 10, 2017

The Trump administration on Monday took steps toward scrapping a regulation that would have helped more foreign-born entrepreneurs build startups in the U.S. without a traditional visa.

The Department of Homeland Security filed a notice that it will delay the effective date of the International Entrepreneur Rule, which would have let foreign entrepreneurs apply to work in the U.S., provided their startup raised $250,000 from established U.S. investors.

The rule, enacted in the final days of the Obama administration, had been set to go into effect next week. The DHS will delay that date by eight months, a period in which it will “obtain comments from the public regarding a proposal to rescind the rule,” the agency said in a Federal Register filing.

Delaying the rule is a way to give the administration more time to formally rescind it, people with knowledge of the matter said. However, the administration could still change its mind and choose to uphold some version of the rule, they said.

The move was met with rebuke from groups representing Silicon Valley tech firms, which lobbied for President Donald Trump to uphold the rule in recent weeks. Entrepreneurs and investors argue that immigrant-founded businesses can create thousands of U.S. jobs and will help boost competitiveness at a time when nations like France and Canada are opening up to foreign startups.

“This is unquestionably a setback for the United States in the global race for talent,” Todd Schulte, president of, a group representing tech executives, said in an emailed statement. “We should be encouraging innovators to bring their new ideas, expertise, and unique skills to our country, rather than incentivizing them to put their talents to work for our competitors abroad.”

Immigration was one of several topics discussed last month when the leaders of tech companies including Apple Inc., Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google met with President Trump for a White House brainstorming session.