Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar introduced legislation today that is going to reward immigrant entrepreneurs who can create jobs with green cards.
Titled “Startup Visa Act of 2010,” the bill will grant a two-year conditional visa to an entrepreneur who can secure $250,000 or more for his/her start-up venture from a qualified U.S. investor. After two years, if the company has generated at least five full-time jobs in the U.S., attracted additional $1 million, or achieved at least $1 million in revenue, the immigrant founder will be able to remove the conditions and become permanent resident (green card).
We fully support this proposal. In fact, we have been promoting the same idea for over two years now. Here is what we said in our Immigration Reform section:
Create visa category for entrepreneurs
Expand EB-5 to include entrepreneurs. They will earn permanent residence not by how much money they bring to the U.S., but by how many jobs they can create. It rewards innovation, and might just allow a foreign student with a brilliant idea, but no money, to try and succeed.
This bill will not increase the total number of immigrant visas. Instead, it will create a new EB-6 visa category which draws visas from the existing EB-5 pool. EB-5 is basically rewarding entrepreneurs who are already successful outside the United States and therefore are capable of investing their own money to create U.S. jobs (this is why they are often called investor visas). EB-6, as a comparison, would offer the same reward (green card) to people who are not as rich, but have innovative ideas that are endorsed by angel or venture investors. Both EB5 and EB6 visa holders are given two years to prove their worth, by demonstrating the creation of new jobs or real growth, for example.
A group of 160 venture capitalists and investors are supporting this bill.
Just like any immigration reform bill, it will draw plenty of criticism. And just like any immigration reform bill introduced over the past few years, the odds of eventually becoming law are slim at best, no matter how reasonable they are.