In January of 2015, Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) introduced the fourth version of their Startup Act, which includes a proposed startup visa.
The visas are included in the bipartisan Startup Act 3.0 bill, for which they have been lobbying for over three years, would be available to 75,000 foreign-born individuals who also start companies in the U.S., provided that they meet certain investment and job-creation benchmarks within three years. Once the company meets the benchmarks, the entrepreneur is able to apply for legal permanent residence.
The Startup Act would also create a new visa category available to 50,000 foreign-born students who graduate from American universities with STEM degrees, and would further eliminate caps on the number of work visas that may be granted to individuals from each country.
A Kauffman Foundation study estimates that a startup visa could create 500,000 to 1.6 million new American jobs.
This sounds great, and the U.S. is long overdue for a pathway to LPR status for immigrant entrepreneurs, but one issue I wonder about is whether three years is long enough to prove an entrepreneur’s true resilience or potential for growth. I think the most important aspect of this bill is that it gives extended visas to those who obtain an education in the U.S. To turn them away after we have invested two, three, or even four years or longer leaves competitor countries in a much better position.