Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Help Coming For Talented Immigrant Entrepreneurs?

The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), a non-profit, non-partisan public policy research organization focused on trade, immigration and related issues, recently published a report on immigrant entrepreneurs.  The report noted that in recent years, start-up businesses, those in their first three years of operation, have contributed the most to job growth in the U.S.  In fact, older firms (6-10 years of operation), created only one-tenths of the number of jobs created by the start-ups.  And recent studies have shown that “immigrants were more than twice as likely to start businesses each month in 2010 than were native born.”

Notwithstanding the fact that, without start-ups, there would be almost no job growth in the U.S. economy, and the fact that immigrants are so much more likely to start a business, U.S. immigration law makes it very difficult for foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S.   One option, an E visa, requires a minimum investment of $500,000 in an existing business (the average investment for a start-up is $31,000).  Another option, an H-1B visa, is almost impossible for an entrepreneur to get.

Recently, a number of new bills have been introduced that would establish entrepreneur visas.  These bills would place less emphasis on the amount of capital a foreign national invests and more on the talent the new business owner brings to the undertaking.

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