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Business leaders criticise Trump plan to block Obama-era ‘startup visas’

July 13th, 2017

US President Donald Trump’s administration said it plans to rescind a Barack Obama-era programme that would allow foreign entrepreneurs who launch startup companies in the US to live in the country, in the president’s latest effort to constrict immigration flows.

Known as the International Entrepreneur Rule and favoured by many in the technology industry, the programme would allow non-US citizens who launched companies that won $100,000 in government grants or received $250,000 in venture capital investment to stay in the US for a renewable 30-month term.

Finalised in the last days of the Obama administration, it was set to take effect on July 17.

But the Trump administration announced it would delay the programme until next March as the Department of Homeland Security launches an additional review of the so-called “startup visa”.

The department indicated that in the interim, the administration would propose rescinding the programme.

“Big mistake,” said Steve Case, founder of America Online and now chief executive officer of the Revolution LLC investment fund. “Immigrant entrepreneurs are job-makers, not job-takers.”

The National Venture Capital Association, an industry trade group, criticised the step.

“At a time when countries around the world are doing all they can to attract and retain talented individuals to build and grow innovative companies, the Trump administration is signalling its intent to do the exact opposite,” Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of the trade group, said.


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