Working as a San Francisco immigration attorney, I am interested in how immigration policy can help or hurt a struggling economy. A bipartisan bill, the Startup Visa Act of 2010, has been introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). The purpose of the bill is to assist global entrepreneurs in obtaining US visas.
This is not a simple open door policy. A foreign entrepreneur can be granted a two-year temporary visa (currently designated as an EB-6 visa) if they are able and willing to invest $250,000 in the business they are about to startup. This can get permanent visa.
To be eligible for permanent legal status, the entrepreneur must achieve one of the following after two years:
• Created five full-time jobs in the US
• Managed to raise $1 million in additional investment cash.
• Earned revenue of $1 million.
It is backed by over 160 venture capitalists from around the world. Certainly, this bill could impact the economy of the San Francisco area as well as my practice as an immigration attorney. It is difficult to estimate at this time how many entrepreneurs may take advantage of this opportunity.
This could actually have an impact on immigration from China. A recent article on Newsweek.com reports that an MIT study found that while China has higher rates of entrepreneurship than Europe and the U.S., they also have higher rates of business founders who are focused on high growth. . Starting companies with at least 20 employees operating in a high-growth sector.
In recent years, European countries have been focusing on encouraging more high growth entrepreneurship. In the past five years, European countries have been working to create better business conditions such as tax incentives to encourage entrepreneurs.
This bill is designed to bring innovators and job creators to the country. It is hoped that the Startup Visa Act of 2010 will benefit the US economy, workers and consumers. As an immigration attorney in San Francisco, I expect to see debate on this legislation as is always the case with any change in immigration policy.