You know you’re a fob if acronyms like OPT, H1B and CPT strike a chord with you. Whether its a student visa or work permit, non-U.S. citizens are required to jump through countless hoops in order to legally reside in the US. I’ve been reading about the recent hot debate over the StartUp Visa Act of 2010 bill, a piece of legislation that could potentially make life much easier for foreign-born entrepreneurs. The bill was introduced by Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar on Feb 24, and is supported by more than 160 venture capitalists and investors.
Startups are essential to boosting the economy–according to a Kauffman Foundation study, startups create about 10 percent of new jobs every year. Another study by Duke University and Berkeley revealed that 25 percent of American tech companies created between 1995 and 2005 were co-founded by a foreign-born entrepreneur.
To get this two-year EB-6 visa, one must meet the following requirements:
- Raise $250,000 worth of funding, with $100,000 coming from US-based venture capitalists or angel investors
- In two years generate $1 million in revenues, attract another $1 million in funding OR create five new jobs in order to receive permanent resident status (greencard!)
Reading through the various posts on the topic, one comment from Politics Daily really resonated with me. It’s a quote by a Clark University student Bjoern Weidlich, who is from Germany:
“There is no reason why Silicon Valley has to be the startup hub forever — we’re seeing other places like Singapore respond and make it easier for immigrants to move there and start companies. If the U.S. doesn’t make it easy for talent to stay or come here to start companies the talent will soon go somewhere else.”
It’s always puzzling to me why it’s so hard for an immigrant to live in a nation built by immigrants. Things have been more difficult for non-U.S. citizens especially after the economy’s collapse. We are losing talent, decreasing our competitive edge against the other global leaders. Growing up in Singapore, I’ve always appreciated how its open economy has led the small island city-state to its success today.
Take a look at this wiki list of startups with foreign-born founders and do add to the list if you can. The list even includes heavyweights Google and eBay!
Update: Sign the petition!