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NYC to launch visa program for international entrepreneurs (Crain’s NY)

Recipients will mentor students in exchange for access to resources in city colleges

New York City officials announced a new program Thursday to provide visas for up to 80 international entrepreneurs who will work out of business incubators at City University of New York campuses.

The entrepreneurs will mentor students in exchange for access to college facilities.

The city Economic Development Corporation and CUNY said the program should generate 700 new jobs in the next three years. The International Innovators Initiative, or IN2NYC, as the program is called, will start taking applications this spring.

“This is a win for our universities, our working people and our city’s ability to compete on the global stage,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “We are making sure New York City remains a magnet for the world’s top talent, and putting New Yorkers to work at the technology and engineering firms of tomorrow.”

The entrepreneurs will qualify for an H-1B visa for skilled workers.

The U.S. caps the number of H1-B visas issued each year, forcing applicants to enter a lottery. But people working with institutions of higher education are exempt from the caps, so the IN2NYC program will allow applicants to bypass the lottery.

The CUNY colleges taking part in the program are Baruch College, City College, the College of Staten Island, LaGuardia Community College, Lehman College, Medgar Evers College and Queens College.

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