The Startup Visa

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In yesterday’s speech, President Obama proposed issuing visas for foreign students who studies in the United States and later starts a business here in the States, even if it the business is backed by a US investor.  The idea is that these foreign entrepreneurs will create jobs for US citizens and further stimulate the US economy.

President Obama also mentioned that 1 in 4 businesses in the United States were founded by immigrants.  He cited both Intel, a computer chip maker and Instagram, a popular photo sharing site as an example.   Both of these companies were found by foreign students who studied in the United States and later stayed here.   I personally believe that having this Visa would be a good thing for the US.

The times are changing and now more than ever, young people are leading the life of entrepreneurship.   The internet certainly has made it easier for people start businesses and this is no exception for students who are studying in the United States from abroad.   There are lots of talent out there and through the internet, businesses can be started from anywhere.  Imagine if Google, also founded by immigrants were not founded in the United States.

With having the best post-secondary educational institutions here in the United States, a growing number of foreign students are coming to study here.  They are getting their Ph.Ds in engineering, math, or science and leaving if they can’t get an H1B Visa.   It is not that they lack the talent, but because the quota to issue the Visa more often than not gets filled way too quickly.  That is if the foreign student is looking to get a highly skilled job in the US and the employer is willing to sponsor them.  However, most of them end up starting a business after graduation.

The looming concern is even if they are able to start a business here, they have no legal way of staying here to run the business.  From time to time I browse through Angel List, where I am listed as an investor, and find fascinating start-ups founded by a team of elite Ivy League graduates.  When I finally find the ones I like and connect with them, I find that some of the team members have only limited amount of time to stay here legally, thus leaving behind what could be the next Facebook.  Its about time for an Immigration Reform.

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Categories: Immigration Reform

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