Startup Visa to increase tech worker immigration

A new bill proposes a new type of U.S. visa for immigrant entrepreneurs. The bipartisan Senate bill comes from John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) and Richard Lugar (R-Indiana). In IT Blogwatch, bloggers argue about jobs... jobs... jobs.

By Richi Jennings. February 25, 2010.

Updated 2/25 12.40pm EST: adds comments from The Programmers Guild [sic]

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Photoshop Cookies...     Erick Schonfeld welcomes the bill:

A bill introduced today ... proposes a new type of visa for immigrants who create startups. ... The Startup Visa has been controversial and will no doubt draw fire from anti-immigrant forces and xenophobes. But if we are going to be giving away visas ... [it's] hard to argue against ... giving them to people who will help build the U.S. economy and create jobs.

...

[The act] would create a two year visa for immigrant entrepreneurs ... would carve out a new “EB-6? class of visas ... sends the right message to prospective immigrants: create jobs, get a green card.
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Anthony Ha expands:

The startup founder visa, a concept that has a lot of backing from the startup and venture community, might actually become a reality ... [the bill] reflects many of the ideas pushed by the movement’s advocates. ... The idea is to create an alternative to ... H-1B ... [which] has been in extremely high demand in past years, but ... somewhat controversial because of competition with US workers.

  A special founder visa would prioritize bringing entrepreneurs into the country ... [and] avoid some of the controversy of other visa programs, since a startup founder is ostensibly creating jobs, not competing for them.
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The "thrilled" supporters of the bill boldly blog:

The folks here at StartupVisa.com are all very proud of this moment, and we ask for your support as ... [the bill] moves closer to a vote. We will provide more information from the sponsoring legislators as it becomes available.
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But Kim Berry vehemently disagrees:

The new visa category is not necessary. A startup company can already hire foreign talent to their venture. ... The vast majority of start-ups fail. ... Most likely they would burn through the capital within a year. Then what? ... A "Founder" from another country is likely to want to bring over his buddies from the homeland.

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Under the Startup Visa the sponsored parties would have nothing vested. We believe that fraud and "shell ventures" would be rampant.
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Dana Oshiro has skin in the game:

As a foreigner I'm obviously not completely impartial in covering this story. ... 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.

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Nevertheless, there has been some opposition as a few ask the question, "Why should we let those foreigners gobble up our resources?" ... 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?
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Brian Caulfield agrees:

Some say immigrants ... create more competition for scarce jobs, burden taxpayer-funded social services, and benefit only employers looking for cut-rate talent. Time to reboot the debate.
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Mike Butcher has the view from across the pond:

For the past several months, a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have been lobbying Washington full tilt. ... There was a whiff of a suggestion from Gordon Brown that the [UK] Government would simplify the visa process for entrepreneurs, he later back-pedalled, saying a “visa for entrepreneurs” would only be granted (I paraphrase) only if we don’t have the skills “locally”.

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While the US and no doubt other nations are wooing technology entrepreneurs with incentives to start their businesses there, in the UK there remains this lack of clarity. ... I hope this issue gets looked at. Because if it is down to some hidden agenda about “foreign nationals”, then the terrorists will already have won.
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So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.

 
 
And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

 
 
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