Home Startup Visa Introduced: Is it a No-Brainer?

Startup Visa Introduced: Is it a No-Brainer?

Foreign startups with their sights set on targeting a U.S. market will be happy to note that as of this morning, Senator John Kerry and Senator Richard Lugar introduced the Startup Visa Act in Washington. In late December we covered the details of the legislation as well as comments from some of the act proponents including YCombinator’s Paul Graham and Foundry Group’s Brad Feld. As of today, additional supporters include investors Reid Hoffman, Fred Wilson and Dave McClure. The support has us wondering if there is any real opposition to this act?

According to the Startup Visa site, the legislation has received the support of over 100 U.S. venture capitalists and angel investors. Supporters believe that the act modifying the existing EB-5 Visa will drive U.S. job creation and will allow foreign entrepreneurs to secure visas in the case where they’ve already established investment from a sponsoring US investor. Investment levels are $250,000 in funding from a venture capital firm or $100,000 secured from an angel. The startup must also have plans to create five new jobs every two years, raise at least $1 million dollars every two years, or generate at least $1 million dollars in revenue.

In other words, within a two year time frame, a startup entrepreneur needs to either scale up the operation and staff it, prove the product to the point of raising Series A, or generate substantial profit. Nevertheless, there has been some opposition as a few ask the question, “Why should we let those foreigners gobble up our resources?”

As a foreigner I’m obviously not completely impartial in covering this story; however, some of the arguments against this act seem akin to those used against immigration in general. In this case it appears that the U.S. is purposely welcoming those who’ve been vouched for by American investors, put on a strict product timeline and given a mandate to hire Americans and pay American taxes. Apart from U.S.-based xenophobia am I missing the point of the opposition here? Is there a valid justification as to why this isn’t a good piece of legislation for the U.S. or startup world? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Startupvisa

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