Why the startup visa is a good idea

by on April 2, 2010 · 4 comments

This is a hot topic in the Valley at the moment, and for good reason.  Here’s an excerpt from my column on the issue:

Silicon Valley is known for innovative ideas in technology, and now some of the area’s greatest minds have come up with a new way to solve one of their biggest operational problems: securing foreign talent. It’s called the “startup visa” and it’s getting a lot of attention in both California and D.C., because it would help create new jobs.

The idea is to issue a work visa to foreign entrepreneurs who start a company in the U.S., provided that they raise at least US$250,000 from qualified U.S. investors. Then, within two years, the startup must create five new jobs, raise at least $1 million, or generate at least $1 million in revenue. If one of those goals is achieved, the founder gets a green card. If not, the entrepreneur must leave the country. Anyone who knows what it’s like to be an immigrant understands that such a scenario would provide a serious incentive to work hard at making the new company grow.

For years, the tech industry has struggled with caps on H-1B visas, but this new idea has sparked hope for a better reception. Far from “stealing jobs” from Americans, the visas would require the creation of new jobs that stimulate the economy.

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