Judge Rejects DHS Delay on Foreign Entrepreneur Startup Visa Immigration Program

A federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to rescind its delay of a rule allowing certain foreign entrepreneurs to work in the US to grow their startup companies. The National Venture Capital Association filed a lawsuit in the US District of Columbia challenging the delay of the International Entrepreneur Program (IEP). It argued that the Trump Administration violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) by ignoring the proper procedures in postponing implementation of the International Entrepreneur Program (IEP), which was scheduled to go into effect on July 17, 2017. Several technology companies later joined the suit.

The rule, proposed by President Obama, would allow for foreign entrepreneurs to work in the US for five years to direct and develop their business. In July 2017 before the effective date, the Trump Administration pushed back the implementation to March 14, 2018, stating that it was “highly likely” that the rule would be revoked. Judge Boasby held that the government violated the APA, which requires that the government provide the public with a voice during the rule-making process, and in particular, with the opportunity to provide comments in advance of the proposed delay.

The International Entrepreneur Program (IEP), often called the startup visa, will allow foreign entrepreneurs to grow innovative companies, stimulate the economy and create jobs. The US economy has thrived in part because of the significant contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs.

Although the NVCA is victorious in its suit, it is not clear whether or when DHS will begin accepting IEP applications. It is also possible that DHS will appeal the District Court ruling.