On February 24, the first positive US Immigration reform legislation was officially introduced to Congress co-sponsored by Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lugar (R-IN). As you know we strongly opposed the H1B visa and L1 visa reform legislation introduced to Congress by Senator Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Grassley (R-IA) as being short-sighted, anti immigrant and ultimately bad for the US and the US economy.
So this new bill titled the StartUp Visa Act of 2010 has been what many venture capitalists, industry leaders in the Silicon Valley and technology space and prominent academics like Vivek Wadhwa had been calling for to help drive job creation and increase America’s global competitiveness by allowing immigrant entrepreneurs to remain in the US and innovate. Ultimately bringing great wealth to the US, thousands of new jobs to the US economy and ultimately prosperity to the US economy and people as a whole via greater tax revenues.
There is great precedent for this as according to American Made: The Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Professionals on U.S. Competitiveness, a 2006 study commissioned by the National Venture Capital Association, 25% of U.S. public companies that were backed by venture capital had immigrant founders. The list reads like a who’s who of the tech industry with Intel, Sun Microsystems, eBay, Yahoo and Google. Additionally of current venture funded organizations, that number rises to 50% for immigrant founded companies.
So you can see we are talking about millions of Americans directly and indirectly employed and involved in these industries and a huge injection to the US economy as a whole that if it didn’t exist in whole or partially would mean a radically different US today and most probably a completely new world economic superpower where these companies did reside.
Essentially a new visa category would be created called EB-6 for immigrant entrepreneurs, and take a portion of visas from the current EB-5 visa category which allows foreigners who invest a minimum of $1 million into the U.S. economy, and create ten jobs to be able to get a green card. The EB-5 has many strict conditions attached to it, including around location of operation making it a less desirable option.
The StartUp visa will be made available to qualified candidates if they can suffice the following criteria;
– have a qualified venture capitalist or angel investor that has invested a minimum of at least $100,000 per immigrant founder, totaling a minimum amount of $250,000
– following proof of securing the initial funding capital, after two years, the immigrant can show that he or she has generated at least five full-time jobs in the United States (beyond immediate family members), and attracted another 1 million in investment funding or generated $1 million in revenue, then that person would receive permanent resident status (i.e. a green card)
Already as mentioned this has wide industry support but no doubt the dark forces of short-sighted lobby groups, bigoted members of society and dopey congress people will no doubt not see any of this overwhelming evidence and try and torpedo this effort at true US Immigration reform that benefits the country.
To read some extra details about this new StartUp Visa and the full Act itself go to the highlighted link.and also sign their petition in support of the legislation.
P.S. There is a major Immigration Rally taking place in Washington DC on Sunday March 21 organized by over 700 committed organization championing real change and you can click on the link to either participate or support this great cause.