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"Entrepreneurs in Residence":Realizing the Job-Creating Potential of Current Immigration Law

Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, talks about President Obama's immigration initiative “Entrepreneurs in Residence.”

Last week, I joined the President’s Jobs Council in Pittsburgh to announce “Entrepreneurs in Residence.”  This initiative will help U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) obtain industry expertise on immigrant investors, entrepreneurs, and workers with specialized skills, knowledge, or abilities.

While in Pittsburgh I had the opportunity to meet many foreign-born entrepreneurs who seek to use their innovative ideas and energy to launch new businesses and employ U.S. workers.  Their aims directly reflect one of our immigration system’s goals:  to further American prosperity by introducing talent and investment from abroad.

In August, USCIS instituted a series of enhancements to help realize the full legislative intent underlying some of our business-based visa programs.  Last week, the Jobs Council offered further recommendations for increasing job creation, and advocated for continued improvement of the EB-5 immigrant investor program, a program designed to attract foreign capital for investment in new commercial enterprises that create jobs for U.S. workers.  USCIS has been working since August to:

  • Hire business analysts to enhance the EB-5 adjudication process;
  • Implement direct access for EB-5 Regional Center applicants to reach adjudicators quickly; and
  • Launch new specialized training modules for USCIS officers on the EB-2 visa classification and L-1B nonimmigrant intra-company transferees.

Entrepreneurs in Residence marks a further step in our effort to ensure that our policies, processes and training reflect the realities of the businesses we serve.  USCIS will continue doing its part to ensure that America can out-innovate and out-compete in a global economy.

Alejandro Mayorkas is Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services