The Trump administration wants to scrap the 'startup visa.' What does this mean for Silicon Valley?


The move, which would make it harder for people from other countries to start businesses in the U.S., is likely to cause friction between the White House and Silicon Valley leaders.

The Trump administration plans to delay and possibly kill a rule that would allow some foreign entrepreneurs to reside in the U.S., the San Francisco Chroniclereports.

The Department of Homeland Security approved the International Entrepreneur Rule in January, days before former President Obama left office. It's the closest America has come to the "startup visa" Silicon Valley has long pushed for, and it was scheduled to go into effect July 17.

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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks as (2nd L to R) PayPal co-founder and Facebook board member Peter Thiel, Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook and Oracle CEO Safra Catz look on during a meeting with technology leaders at Trump Tower in New York U.S., December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
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NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14: (L to R) Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon, Larry Page, chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc. (parent company of Google), Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, Vice President-elect Mike Pence listen as President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a meeting of technology executives at Trump Tower, December 14, 2016 in New York City. This is the first major meeting between President-elect Trump and technology industry leaders. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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However, that date could be pushed to March 2018, and the rule may be reconsidered because of the January 25 executive order on immigration that called for tougher screenings, the Chronicle reported, citing an administration official. Additionally, during that delay, the Department of Homeland Security will pursue steps to squash the rule.

"If [the government] wants to continue to have the kind of innovation we've had over the past two decades -- like solve the world's biggest technological challenges -- they need to bring [entrepreneurs] here rather than abroad," Jeff Farrah, vice president of government affairs for the National Venture Capital Association, told the Chronicle.

The development comes during Trump's first American Technology Council, a five-day summit in which executives from Apple, Google, Amazon, and other tech companies are meeting with administration officials to discuss updating government computer systems and cybersecurity measures. The news is bound to cause tension as Silicon Valley leaders have praised the rule, saying there has been no straightforward path for an international entrepreneur to live in the U.S. while building a startup.

To qualify under the rule, entrepreneurs would need to show that they will contribute to economic growth or job creation and prove that a reputable investor gave at least $250,000 to the company. It would allow an entrepreneur to stay in the U.S. for 30 months, with the possibility of a 30-month extension.

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