US: USCIS Finalizes International Entrepreneur Parole Program

Under a new final regulation published on 17th January 2017, international entrepreneurs who have established a business in the United States, demonstrate significant U.S. funding and show that their business has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation will be eligible to apply for up to five years of authorization to stay in the United States. The rule is slated to take effect on July 17, 2017.

Australia: New visa pathway for entrepreneurs

Qualified entrepreneurs with financial backing and successful entrepreneurial activities will be eligible for a new visa pathway in the Business Innovation and Investment Visa program on September 10, 2016.

US: USCIS to propose temporary parole programme for entrepreneurs

The federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has cleared a USCIS proposal to create a program that would provide temporary parole, on a case-by-case basis, to certain foreign investors, researchers and entrepreneurs who will establish a start-up entity in the United States.

Non-US persons holding US real property affected by PATH Act in 2016

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 or PATH Act, which will go into effect mid February (60 days after signing).

As a mechanism to ensure that the US Treasury Department collects tax revenues from non-US persons selling US real property, FIRPTA generally required the buyer of the subject US real property to withhold 10 percent of the purchase price and furnish this amount to the IRS as tax withheld. Accordingly, as a general matter, a non-US person who sold US real property historically received not more than 90 percent of the purchase price. The residual amount of the purchase price could be refunded upon the non-US person`s filing of a US tax return.

Australia: Purchase of housing for 457 visa holders increased from 1st December

From 1 December 2015 there will be a fee for all foreign investment applications, including 457 visa holders who wish to purchase a house in Australia.

For a property where the value is up to AUD $1 million, the 457 visa holder will pay the Australian Government an extra AUD $5000 AUD.  This fee will increase according to the value of the property purchased and the relevant fees are tabled below.


Why is this happening?

Due to the recent increased scrutiny of overseas citizens purchasing property in Australia without seeking FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board) approval, it has come to the attention that there has been abuse of the process.

The Australian Government needs money and 457 visa holders are not permitted to vote and so the Australian Government have provided $47.5 million over four years to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to improve compliance and strengthen the enforcement of these rules.


What does this mean for foreign national and employers?

A Fact Sheet provided by FIRB giving full details of the penalties can be found here.

Brazil: Higher minimum investment for investor visas

New rules for investor visas raise the minimum investment amount and create an exception that allows lower investment amounts.

Higher Investment Requirement

The minimum investment amount is now BRL 500,000 (approximately USD 130,000) instead of the previous BRL 150,000 (approximately USD 40,000). 

Acceptance of Smaller Investments

The National Council of Immigration may also now accept investments between BRL 150,000 and BRL 500,000 for activities that involve innovation, technology and scientific or technological research.  The Brazilian enterprise receiving the investment must meet one of the following conditions:

  • have received innovation-related investment, financing or resources from a government institution;
  • be located in a designated technology park;
  • qualify as a finalist in a government program sponsoring start-ups;
  • qualify as a facility that offers start-up businesses a place to grow (“business incubator”); or
  • have benefited from a specific program that encourages start-ups ("start-up accelerator").

This type of application will require specific documents that prove the company's scientific or technological work on the project.

Investor Visa Terms Remain Unchanged

Foreign investors under the visa are still eligible for an initial three-year stay with the possibility of renewal if the investor can prove that he or she is still acting in the same capacity as indicated on the Investment Plan of the original visa application.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Foreign investors should be aware of the higher investment requirement and should contact their immigration professional to discuss visa eligibility.