From Bloomberg Businessweek (March 14, 2011) “‘Startup’ Visas Could Boost US Entrepreneurship”
"New legislation aims to keep skilled workers in the country if they start companies that create American jobs"
For years there has been something of a vacuum working on American markets in the form of an outflow of highly educated immigrant workers returning home to such countries as India and China, because they could not get visas to stay here. As a result, entrepreneurship is booming in those countries, instead of in the U.S. As Bloomberg Businessweek reports though, there is work underway to stem the tide and keep some of this top talent here.
The legislation is being put forward by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind) in the form of an updated version of the “Startup Visa Act,” and promises to slow down the outflow of skilled talent and boost entrepreneurship in the U.S..
Of course, there are conditions, and Businessweek offers a brief run-down:
1. Entrepreneurs living outside the U.S. qualify if an American investor agrees to fund their entrepreneurial ventures with a minimum investment of $100,000. Two years later, the startup must have created five new American jobs and either have raised more than $500,000 in financing or be generating more than $500,000 in yearly revenue.
2. Workers on H-1B visas, or graduates from U.S. universities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or computer science, are eligible if they have an annual income of at least $30,000 or assets of at least $60,000 and have had an American investor commit investment of at least $20,000 in their ventures. After two years, the startup must have created three new American jobs and either have raised more than $100,000 in financing or be generating more than $100,000 in yearly revenue.
3. Foreign entrepreneurs whose business has generated at least $100,000 in sales from the U.S. After two years, the startup must have created three new American jobs and either have raised more than $100,000 in financing or be generating more than $100,000 in yearly revenue.
The requirements for allowing a foreigner to stay permanently in the U.S. are quite stringent: His or her business must be successful and have created American jobs. This is a gamble for any potential immigrants—if they fail, they must start again or leave the country.