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.

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.

The "thrilled" supporters of the bill boldly blog:

The folks here at 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.

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.


Under the Startup Visa the sponsored parties would have nothing vested. We believe that fraud and "shell ventures" would be rampant.

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.


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?

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.

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”.


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.

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:

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon