The US is Reviving its IER Program – What Does it Offer?


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Like all countries seeking an influx of investors, the US has its own residency by investment schemes.

One is the IER (short for International Entrepreneur Rule).

First started in the late period of Obama’s presidency, its goal was to provide mobility features to immigrants with startups in the US. However, that mobility came under certain conditions.

How the International Entrepreneur Rule Works

First, the IER provides “parole” status to applicants, unlike “residency” offered by other countries.

Applicants with parole status are allowed entry to the US, even if they lack an immigrant visa. This provides better mobility than someone with an active immigration status.

The parole status lasts for up to 5 years.

The first 2 ½ years are an initial phase where the enterprise is under review. And if the project is promising the second 2 ½ year extension is offered.

Applicants are required to invest a minimum of $250,000 as venture capital funds.

Their project should lead to the hiring of 10 employees. The success and failure of each applicant is reviewed case-by-case.

The International Entrepreneur Program’s History

While an interesting concept, the program wasn’t active for too long before being shelved.

The presidency of Trump may be blamed for that. With intentions to actually terminate the program, the US received almost no attention towards it from serious investors.

This can also be seen in the number of applications submitted from 2017 to 2019, which amounted to 30. Of those applications, only a single one was approved.

Fortunately, interest in the IER has seen a reversal with Biden’s presidency. The program is back as an option, backed by petitions from worldwide venture capital funds.

This can also be seen in Tracy Renaud’s statements (current USCIS Acting Director). She sees that the program reflects the economic spirit of the US, especially with its history of appreciating entrepreneurship, creativity, and hard work.

Will the Program Bring Success?

Currently, the Department of Homeland Security aims for 3000 applicants per year, who in turn should lead to a total job creation goal of 100,000.

To reach that goal, the White House aims to take a proactive approach in advertising the program.

Georg Chmiel (Juwai IQI Group’s Executive Chairman and Co-founder) sees that the program’s goals are achievable by 2022. By then, the program should have 1/3 of the EB-5 investment visa’s reception.

Who’s Most Interested in the Program?

Interest seems to come from Asian investment and entrepreneurial circles.

The IER might see a large portion from the Sino-American circle, especially with how popular the EB-5 program is among them. It’s also expected that the US government will keep open arms to that market.

After all, the US has always been a popular destination for Main Chinese migrants and investors, regardless of political tensions between both countries.

Though it should be noted that the IER’s bandwidth is much less than the EB-5. With that in-mind, many applicants may find that an EB-5 acceptance comes easier than an IER’s.

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