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New Opportunities for Middle Eastern and American Businesses The reversal of the Muslim travel ban will only help the U.S. economy.

By Shai Zamanian Edited by Bill Schulz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Oleksii Liskonih | Getty Images

What drives the people in the Middle East to propel forward in hopes of achieving their ultimate goals?

Capital wealth and the recognition of their achievements are generally at the top of the list.

This is further personified by cities like Dubai and its dynamic ecosystem providing ample opportunities for businesses to thrive. Our constantly evolving environment pushes us to build our standing structure in our field of work. Yet let's zoom out from the myopic lens of the rules of capitalism: Why do entrepreneurs really seek wealth and acclaim? Access.

In our interconnected world, access is the means in which we determine success. You cannot always buy access and many times one may not be invited to the exclusive engagement. For Middle Eastern businessmen seeking access to the United States, all was halted with Trump's elusive Muslim Ban for international travelers.

For nearly 4 years, some of the brightest entrepreneurs within the region lacked the ability to access America. Yet all is now set to change as the U.S. undergoes a state of new thought geared away from xenophobia, islamophobia or other irrational fears which places a blanket ban on nationalities.

Related: Rising To The Occasion: Dubai-Headquartered Startup Rise Is Shaking Up The Financial Services Sector

A welcome reversal

Joe Biden has signed the executive order to reverse the infamous Trump travel ban directed at Muslim majority countries. Making this the first step to bridging the gap between the east and the west while subsequently opening the gates for fresh business ventures.

Companies from the targeted Muslim majority countries were hindered from obtaining elements such as work visas or entry to conferences in the U.S. to evaluate new business avenues. For firms to grow and thrive they need access to resources and connections. Evidently, the ban provided limitations on both physical access and future planning, as it came with no clarity or certainty as to how long the ban would be in place. Big businesses and hotel chains that projected franchising opportunities, and or branching out to the United States, were directly affected.

The reality is that the ban became a restrictive measure for families with ties in these targeted Muslim majority countries and those wishing to immigrate or conduct business with America. The country has an obligation to not compromise public safety and to protect the countries and its citizens, but that obligation needed to be fulfilled in proportion to its means. In response to the proportionality of the enactment of the travel ban due to the U.S. terrorist attacks, President Biden has repeatedly rejected a blanket ban on a certain group for preventive purposes. In fact, since the onset of the inauguration, domestic borne radical groups outweigh those of outside nationalities or religions.

Related: The Need For Innovation In The Middle East's Food Supply Chain

Banning the ban equals big bucks

From an economic standpoint, immigration and access for foreigners have been proven to be a contributing factor to the growth of the American economy. Prior to the effects of the pandemic, the labor force participation rate of foreign-born adults was 65.7 percent, (higher than the 62.3 percent rate for the native-born) according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some 27.2 million foreign-born adults, 63.4 percent of all foreign-born adults, were employed that year, compared to 59.8 percent of native-born adults. At a time where the world's economies need to recover from the crippling effects of the pandemic, businesses from the east will contribute to the strengthening of the U.S. economy. Removal of the ban is a call for a new chapter for America, one that recognizes that a blanket ban against one religion is morally wrong and indicative of a discriminative society.

The enactment of the ban showed a great deal of interconnectedness in the affected industries, not only were Middle Eastern businesses affected but American-based multinational companies that employ foreign talent and recruitment agencies. While the travel troubles did not halt businesses, it made it difficult for operations to continue. Now that the rule has been lifted, businesses can start planning on how to capitalize on these changes to immigration policy.

Related: Why 2021 Could See More Startups From The Middle East Become Unicorns

Shai Zamanian

Managing Director at The American Legal Center

Shai Zamanian, a U.S. licensed lawyer and founder and director of the American Legal Center, assists families in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region migrate to the United States through investment immigration programs.

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