10 May 2010
Proposed American visa to woo tech entrepreneurs
A new American immigration law currently in the Senate aims to attract tech savvy foreign entrepreneurs by offering permanent American residency.
In February, former Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry, and Republican Senator Richard Lugar introduced the Start-Up Visa Act in the Senate.
The bill would create a new category of American visa that will allow a foreign national who is able to raise at least $250,000 from venture capitalists to enter the US.
An entrepreneur would become a permanent American resident once the business has created five jobs, or achieved US$1m in revenue, or if the American visa holder has managed to raise a further $1m.
The current American visa EB-5, allows entry for investors who are willing to put in $1m and create 10 US-based jobs but this visa is hardly used. Last year American Immigration Services approved only 1,265 applications, well below the cap of 10,000 a year.
It is proposed to split the EB-5's allocation in half with the new visa, the EB-6.
The White House has yet to decide its position on the start-up visa, and as there is expected to be a battle for the next nominee for the Supreme Court in summer as well as the climate change bill, it is feared that American immigration reform will not be addressed anytime soon.
The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people make American Visa applications to the American Embassy.