In January, the outgoing Obama Administration finalized a long-awaited rule to create a “startup visa” that would help foreign entrepreneurs create and grow businesses in the U.S.
The rule is formally called the International Entrepreneur Rule and was scheduled to go into effect on July 17, but the Trump administration is planning to delay and then scrap the rule, according to a report Thursday by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Chronicle spoke to an anonymous administration official who said the start date will now be pushed back to March of 2018 to give the administration time to scrap it entirely, including going through a process of public input before the final decision is made.
The new visa plan has been long sought by tech investors and startup leaders throughout the U.S. as a way to encourage company and job growth and ensure the country can attract top-level entrepreneurs from around the globe.
The tech industry has already butted heads with the Trump administration over immigration several times since the President took office in January, most notably over his ban on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. When Washington state sued the administration over the ban, companies including Amazon and Microsoft vocally supported the suit.
The hold on the startup visa rule comes just days after the President met with technology leaders including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella to discuss how the federal government and the technology industry can better work together and drive innovation in the U.S.
There’s currently no clear path to staying in the U.S. for entrepreneurs, and many first come to the country to work through the HB-1 visa, which the Trump administration and Congress have also suggested curtailing.
To qualify for the proposed startup visa, entrepreneurs must own at least 15 percent of a U.S. startup and demonstrate the company’s growth potential, investments from qualified American investors, and “significant public benefit to the United States.”
The rule would allow entrepreneurs that fit those requirements to stay in the U.S. for up to two years. They could then apply for an additional three years if the company shows continued growth and benefit to the American public (like increases in capital investment, job creation, or revenue).