The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Department) recently issued a notice proposing to terminate the international entrepreneur parole program (IE Program) in accordance with Executive Order 13767, entitled Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, because the IE Program represents an overly broad interpretation of the Department’s parole authority, lacks sufficient protections for U.S. workers and investors, and is not the appropriate vehicle for attracting and retaining talented international entrepreneurs.

Last year the Department published a final rule which established criteria creating the IE Program with an effective date of July 17, 2017. However, days before the effective date, the Department published a rule to delay the effective date of the IE Program to March 14, 2018, to ensure it was consistent with Executive Order 13767, but on December 1, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the delay rule as a result of litigation in National Venture Capital Association v. Duke, and allowed the IE Program to begin.

The IE Program allows the Department discretionary authority to admit international entrepreneurs into the U.S. for a temporary period up to 30 months to oversee and grow a start-up entity in which the entrepreneur maintains a substantial ownership interest and which has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation. To be eligible for the IE Program, the international entrepreneur must sufficiently demonstrate that his or her temporary admission into the U.S. would provide a significant public benefit by establishing that the start-up entity created by the entrepreneur received significant capital investment from U.S. investors with established records of successful investment or obtained significant awards or grants for economic development, research and development, or job creation from federal, state, or local governments. The start-up entity must also create jobs for U.S. workers.

With the proposed termination of the IE Program, international entrepreneurs will now have to pursue other limited options for temporary admission into the U.S. to establish, grow and manage their new venture.