March 1, 2010

Entrepreneur News : Possible New Start- Up Visa Act

Senators John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, Wednesday introduced the Start-up Visa Act, which would open up the U.S. to immigrant entrepreneurs.

What is this "Start-up Visa Act?"

Something that has people voicing their opinions, that's for sure.

Basically, If passed, the bill would grant foreigners U.S. visas if they can secure at least $100,000 from a sponsoring angel investor or at least $250,000 from a qualified venture capital firm. After two years, if the immigrant entrepreneur can create five or more jobs (hiring his or her children or spouse is not included), attract an additional $1 million in investment, or produce $1 million in revenue, he or she can become a legal resident.

Supporters of this proposed entrepreneur legislation  include LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Mobius Venture Capital's Brad Feld. In a letter of support, they complained that "it is often impossible" for immigrant entrepreneurs to get a visa to stay in the U.S. "Even in cases where the founders already have a visa of some sort, they typically can't use this visa to start a company. As a result, they often have to leave our country to start their company, resulting in a loss of innovative entrepreneurs and the correspondingly created jobs in the U.S."

And the National Venture Capital Association (which also supports the bill.) has a report on the subject that concluded that foreign entrepreneurs are more likely to build companies that create high-tech, high paying jobs.  Richard Herman, a Cleveland immigration lawyer and the author of Immigrant, Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy, claims nearly all of the net job creation in the past 20 years has come from companies less than five years old. "The Start-up Visa should be something to help turbo-charge American entrepreneurship and get our juices flowing again," he blogged.

So what do you think? Is a start-up visa a way to rejuvenate our economy? Will it attract entrepreneurial immigrants to the U.S. and help create jobs?

Blog Archive