Why Is a News Story Needed to Get an Immigrant Entrepreneur a Visa?

On the website of Cruisewise.com, its founder Amit Aharoni is described as “powered by Red Bull & enthusiasm, nothing can stop him.”

But he hadn’t reckoned with US Immigration.

Despite creating jobs and attracting venture capital for his start up firm, an innovative online cruise booking company, he was denied a visa. He was told that his job as CEO did not require someone with his high-level degree, even though he created the company, and he had to immediately leave.

But straight after ABC News aired his story, he received an email from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCSIS) saying they had changed their mind.

Aharoni spent 10 years in the Israeli Defense Forces’ elite software units and recieved an MBA from Stanford University. His company has created nine new jobs in the United States within a year after being featured on Techcrunch and receiving £1.65m in start-up capital.

But on October 4, he was notified that he had to leave the US, so Aharoni moved to Canada, where he continued to run his company via Skype from a friend’s living room.

According to American Immigration Lawyers Association, immigration laws do need reform to better help entrepeneurs but “USCIS has spent the last few years re-interpreting the current laws to block the ability of job creators to develop those jobs in America.”

“Those of us in the trenches, filing cases on behalf of  immigrant entrepreneurs like Aharoni,  know that his story is not a fluke nor an exception, but is rather typical of a clear anti-business—and particularly anti-small business—trend in USCIS decision-making.”

“Agency adjudicators do not understand, perhaps do not even care, that immigrant entrepreneurs like Aharoni create jobs for Americans. And it is the continued investment and hard work of such immigrants that will get America out of the economic doldrums and sharpen its competitive edge in the global economy. But a radical and –given the economy—swift shift is necessary in order for adjudicators to view their decision-making tasks as efforts that directly impact our economic health.

“How many entrepreneurs have left the U.S. and not returned, taking American jobs with them to places like Bangalore, Shanghai, and Vancouver?”

San Diego immigration lawyer Jacob Sapochnick says:

“We have been reporting on the increase in unjust H1B [visa] denials for weeks. In many cases applicants and their lawyers are left with the option to appeal or refile. But when the media gets involved, USCIS are forced to change course.”

“Experts say America’s immigration policy is putting it at a competitive disadvantage. There are other countries that are eager to have entrepreneurs, enticing them with special visas and funding. According to Partnership for a New American Economy, an organization that advocates “the economic benefits of sensible immigration reform,” countries including the United Kingdom, Singapore and Chile have visas for entrepreneurs. Chile even has a program that offers $40,000 in seed funding.”

“It is a problem politicians in America acknowledge, but have not solved.”

“According to statistics from Partnership for a New American Economy, 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.”

“If we fail to give such gifted immigrants the foundation to innovate, we will be the the first ones to loose.”


Related stories:
Immigration Officer: “The Warrant is Coming Out of My Balls”
The GOP’s Two Faces on Immigration
California Makes Government Enforcement of E-Verify Illegal

Photo from Morning Calm News via flickr


Vivek C.
Vivek C.6 years ago

Hi Paul: Just stumbled upon this post. Sounds so much like my own story. I graduated from a US university in 2007 and my US Visa was denied twice in 2007 and 2008. I moved to Toronto and have set up my company here. I haven't quite figured what the rationale is behind the USCIS stand that I should not create an American company or hire American workers.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Withheld W.
Withheld W.6 years ago

Speaking of 'compassion', where is the compassion for the American citizens replaced by H-1Bs', and L-1s', and OPTs', and J-1s', and B-2s', etc? Their Jobs and lives, taken, by foreign-national pod-people? Where is that compassion?

We can have love for our brother, but what is being done is modern day slavery, via labor arbitrage. Where is your compassion for the indentured servants?

This has been going on for over twenty years! Look around yourself, you are seeing the effects of unrestrained immigration, legal, and illegal, all around you.

Insourcing and outsourcing has been abused, rising to the level of treason.

Who will we be able to help, when our citizens have been driven from entire fields, their repossessed homes purchased by those who displace and take over the lives of the displaced.

Shall we leave our cars in the garage, our wives in their bed, for the benefit of our pod-person?

Do not borders, language, and culture, define a nation?

Should we embrace being be a nation of compassionate servants, and homeless?

Hartson Doak
Hartson Doak6 years ago

What ever happened to our send us your huddled masses, your poor.... Now we are kicking out our educated creative innovators. GOD will I be glad when this paranoia created by the fear mongers in our government is finally buried deep in the soil of human compassion.

Athina Pantelidaki

The general policy is to send jobs out of United States. Apparently this person did the mistake
to start and have business in U.S. When the policy makers will wake up, it will be late not
only for the country but for them too.

Jennifer G.
Jennifer G6 years ago

Hopefully, that means this guy will return and keep producing great ideas that lead to more jobs for Americans...but how many more entrepreneurs have we lost that didn't get their story told?...thanks for posting

Penny C.
penny C6 years ago

Thanksr this.

Elizabeth K.
Elizabeth K6 years ago

Ernest, did you miss the part where he CREATED jobs?

so if you really think there are too many people here, lets make room for those like him that create jobs, and kick out those like Romney who destroy jobs.

problem solved

Ernest R.
Ernest R6 years ago

Is it possible that someonr e is getting the picture that enough immigration is enough ? The US has illegals to do the dirty jobs that don't pay enough to survive decently. We now have the H1B visas to provide cheaper workers to do the jobs that require intelligence and education that"Americans don't want to do." Those from India often work for Indian companies and are brought in to do that. This provides NO jobs for Americans. but it is more convenient for Indian companies.

Elizabeth K.
Elizabeth K6 years ago

Steve R will never "get it". To him a legal visa is the same as "walking across the border in the dead of night." if your skin is not pasty white.

And of course we need to keep the smart people out of the country, in case they vote the democratic ticket.