The British CEO of Pipe, a startup that’s reached a $2 billion valuation in less than a year, says he’s locked out of the US because of a crisis-level backlog in immigration processing

Harry Hurst is the British cofounder and founder of one of the most promising startups in the world. He says he will not return to Miami to work because he cannot renew his US visa.

“I’m barred from entering the US till next year.” Hurst tweeted that it was “sucking” and said that reform is needed.

The Pipe is not even two years old. However, it has already joined the top echelons for startups. According to a company representative, its valuation is $2billion, twice what it takes to qualify for unicorn status. It has raised $300m in three rounds this year. The Pipe follows a trend of increasing funding for fintech as its business model continues to flourish.

Hurst is originally from England. He returned to England for a few weeks to get a visa stamped in his passport at the London Embassy. He has done it before.

Hurst explained that in the past, this visit was “merely procedural.” This time, he discovered that he couldn’t get an appointment at the Embassy until next year due to a crisis-level backlog with application processing.

Hurst was told by the Embassy that it was “understaffed” but that he wasn’t qualified for an “emergency” appointment.

Hurst, a foreign-born founder, wants to help American entrepreneurs grow their companies without legal way.

Insider’s reports have shown that entrepreneurs do not need a visa. They must create a legal case to be eligible for another type of visa. They may be granted access, usually used by large corporations worldwide to move to the US or add a cofounder with legal status to sponsor an H-1B Visa.

Hurst was granted an O-1 visa. Another loophole for entrepreneurs.

Hurst tweeted: “The fact an anonymous person who doesn’t know you read 300-page applications you put together every three years and then singlehandedly decides what your fate is terrifying.” He added that the process causes him anxiety.

According to USCIS data, the agency that issues visas has seen an increase in processing times even though there was a drop in visa applicants during Donald Trump’s presidency. Even though it was more difficult to obtain legal immigration under this administration, the backlog increased in application processing times.

Hurst was seven years old when he arrived in the country to launch an on-demand car rental company called Skurt. His two ventures have benefited hundreds of Americans, and he said that he had provided contracts to thousands.

“America has provided me with opportunities I would not have had in the UK, and for that, I am forever grateful,” he stated.

“But why does this happen?”

A Pipe representative informed the insider that Hurst couldn’t return to Pipe’s offices for more than a day while his visa is renewed. Pipe’s Miami-based Wynwood neighborhood will be his home, and he will continue to work remotely.

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Adam Collins
Adam writes about technology, business and economics. With master's degree in Economics, he's presented six papers in international conferences. As a solivagant in the constant state of fernweh, curiosity is the main weapon in his arsenal.

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