This article explores the admission policies for self-employed non-EU immigrants wanting to start or move their business to the European Union (EU). Selecting immigrant entrepreneurs is a specific and understudied policy strand in the battle for talent. No common EU policy is available (yet) and although national policies do show some similarity, they differ in respect of how and who decides if an entrepreneur serves a national economic interest.
By presenting a first-time model for defining the level of welcoming, this study adds an instrument to the toolbox of both scholars and policy makers for evaluating immigration policies. Whether a policy is welcoming depends on material criteria, such as entry conditions giving the entrepreneur a fair chance and on the formal criteria of the applicable procedures and the actors involved in the decision-making process.
The body of the article constitutes of a legal comparison between French, German and Dutch entry policies for non-EU entrepreneurs. The article concludes that a future EU policy on welcoming immigrant entrepreneurs must set standards for a large variety of entrepreneurs, allow for the economic interest to be broadly defined and have, at the least, transparent and practical procedures.