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University creates visa workaround for entrepreneurs

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When immigrants in Maryland want to apply for an H-1B visa, their employers may act as a sponsor. However, for those who are self-employed, there is no employer to play that role. This is why many foreign entrepreneurs who wish to stay in the United States are taking part in the Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence program first offered by the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Those who participate in the program are technically employed by a participating college or university. They are generally asked to mentor students or perform other tasks on campus in exchange for the ability to run their companies in the United States. While businesses are limited in how many H-1B visas they can apply to at any time, colleges and universities face no such restriction. The program began in 2014 with two people enrolled, but since then, the program has expanded to include more than three dozen participants.

Although the idea started in Massachusetts, colleges and universities from five other states such as Alaska and California take part in the Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence program. There are also plans to expand the program to states such as Minnesota and Ohio as the program become almost the de facto visa for foreigners looking to start companies in the United States.

Those who are looking for a way to stay in the United States legally may want to have a lawyer's help in determining the appropriate visa to apply for. Legal counsel may also help an individual understand who can be a sponsor and what the requirements may be. Individuals who don't speak English may benefit from working with an attorney who may be able to better communicate with immigration authorities.

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