Start-up visas to entice 'foreigners with good ideas'

A proposed visa legislation tweak would allow next-generation entrepreneurial foreign nationals to set up shop in the US far easier.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

This year will see a Congressional debate for the proposal of a new visa which will make it far easier for non-US residing entrepreneurs and "foreigners with good ideas" to stay in the US, and to contribute to the rebuilding of the economy. 

With technologists and graduate students facing difficulty in getting a visa for work in the United States, they are forced to go elsewhere or stay in their own respective countries. The BBC also state this will be part of a proposed overhaul to the entire immigration system.


Congressman Jared Polis, who is proposing this initiative, is aware that, in line with Duke University research, around half of all the major tech company founders are immigrants or non-US nationals such as Google, Yahoo and eBay.

In a nutshell, at the moment:

  • The USA issues 10,000 EB-5 visas (designed for foreign nationals to invest money in the US) a year.
  • At the moment the current legislation requires these visa holders to invest $1m and create ten full time jobs - essentially entrepreneurs setting up a start-up and bringing on staff.

The new system of visas will instead:

  • Grant foreign nationals a visa if their business plan grants them $250,000 from a US based venture capitalist, or $100,000 from an informal investor and,
  • Show that the business will generate five to ten jobs or generate a profit and at least $1m in revenue.

This new scheme will allow foreign nationals to generate less money from more sources, as well as generate a profit without necessarily creating jobs straight away, but have the monetary potential to in the future.

Yet the typical usual will argue that this will take away jobs from existing citizens, which personally I cannot see being the case. The visa scheme will take into account a broad spectrum of ethnicity's and foreign backgrounds as well as those studying at universities, including homegrown citizens. Regardless of these variables, the best will be picked, but those who are indeed foreign and don't have the appropriate visa or immigration status will benefit from the scheme to ensure they can stay whereas before they would lose out.

The website, StartupVisa.com, houses more information and the aim and goals of the initiative to reform the EB-5 visa legislation.

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