Senate Introduces Bill to Help Immigrants Start U.S. Businesses
A bipartisan bill in the Senate would offfer incentives to help immigrants become entrepreneurs and stay in America, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Startup Act 3.0 would grant 75,000 entrepreneur visas to immigrants who currently have H-1B work visas or F-1 student visas. The new visa would let immigrants remain permanently if they:
- start a business earning or investing $100,000 or more,
- hire at least two employees the first year in business, and
- have at least five employees in the subsequent three years.
Currently, the H-1B visa requires sponsorship from an employer, discouraging immigrants who might like to step out on their own. In California's Silicon Valley, the number of start-ups has actually decreased for immigrants due to the difficulty of obtaining visas. Other would-be entrepreneurs are finding it difficult to raise start-up funds because of their immigration status.
The bill would also encourage immigrants to stay in the U.S. by creating STEM visas for students graduating from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math. This visa could allow up to 50,000 immigrants to stay in the U.S. for five years working in their chosen field. Also, the bill removes limits on the number of people from certain countries who could become permanent residents, particularly benefiting immigrants from China or India.
While the Act has bipartisan support in the Senate, President Obama and high-ranking Senate Democrats are holding fast to the idea of broader immigration reform, which would include a way for 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S. to become citizens.