Newsletter October 2011 – USCIS Announces “Entrepreneurs in Residence” Initiative

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USCIS Announces “Entrepreneurs in Residence” Initiative

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas joined the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in Pittsburgh to announce “Entrepreneurs in Residence.” This new innovative initiative will utilize industry expertise to strengthen USCIS policies and practices surrounding immigrant investors, entrepreneurs and workers with specialized skills, knowledge, or abilities. Mayorkas announced the initiative at the Jobs Council’s High Growth Entrepreneurship Listening and Action Session at AlphaLab in Pittsburgh before the Council’s quarterly meeting with President Obama.

“This initiative creates additional opportunities for USCIS to gain insights in areas critical to economic growth,” said Director Mayorkas. “The introduction of expert views from the private and public sector will help us to ensure that our policies and processes fully realize the immigration law’s potential to create and protect American jobs.”

USCIS will launch the “Entrepreneurs in Residence” initiative with a series of informational summits with industry leaders to gather high-level strategic input. Informed by the summits, the agency will stand up a tactical team comprised of entrepreneurs and experts, working with USCIS personnel, to design and implement effective solutions. This initiative will strengthen USCIS’s collaboration with industries, at the policy, training, and officer level, while complying with all current Federal statutes and regulations.

According to Director Mayorkas, USCIS has taken several significant steps in three main channels to improve their effectiveness: policy, process and people. These include:
• Clarifying our policies to reflect the availability of the H-1B visa and National Interest Waiver under the EB-2 immigrant visa category to foreign-born entrepreneurs, and providing the corresponding training;
• Expanding accelerated, or premium processing to immigrant petitions for certain multinational executives and managers;
• Providing new training, starting in early October, to our adjudicators in the review of L-1 petitions;
• Making significant changes in the way in which we adjudicate cases in the immigrant investor, or EB-5, program – a program designed to create jobs in America.

The USCIS Director emphasized the tools they have in current immigration law to grow the nation’s economy and the progress they are making to support American businesses. Mr. Mayorkas stated: “Business leaders understand the obstacles to attracting top talent in an increasingly competitive world. The contributions that immigrants make to American prosperity are undeniable, and we must work in the short-term to use existing immigration tools more efficiently and effectively. In addition, USCIS will hire people with business experience and consult with business leaders to inform our policy development and training. This will allow us to more ably address the realities and needs of the business community we serve.”

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