Immigrant Founder may be Forced to Leave
Despite creating 15 American jobs with his U.S. company, Asaf Darah faces the possibility of being deported.
After three years researching his thesis at the University of California, Israeli born Asaf Darash decided to stay in the United States. Here, he founded a software company, Regpack. This two year old company is still going strong and shows impressive growth; as of recently it was adding about 30 new clients each week.
However, now Darash has met a barrier that may prove to cripple his efforts. Instead of focusing on running his company, he is fighting to remain in the country.
He was able to start his business because he came here as a visiting scholar. He then applied for an H-1B visa, and which is where he ran into trouble. He was unable to satisfy the employer-employee relationship required for the visa, and is now facing what he calls “bureaucratic hell” as he spends all day attempting to find the correct documents and deal with lawyers.
He is also seeking an alternative route to stay in the country, by applying for the E-2 visa. However, the process may be lengthy and he has had to take out a second mortgage on his house in Tel Aviv in order to provide enough capital. However, there is no guarantee that he will be able to stay, as the wait for such visas is quite substantial.
Stories just like this are all too common. Unfortunately for the United States, its own policies have ensured that immigrant entrepreneurs, people our economy needs, are unable to remain. Asaf Darash sums up the issue well, saying that “Regpack is not going away. It’s going to grow. But the question is, will it grow here or in Israel?”