The StartUp Visa Act of 2010 Good News for America – An Immigration Lawyer Perspective

iStock 000004984192 Small.jpgYesterday was a good day for immigrant entrepreneurs. Senators Kerry and Lugar introduced in the US Senate the Startup Visa Act of 2010. This new legislation proposes the establishment of a new 2 year non-immigrant visa for foreign entrepreneurs if they proved that a US investor had invested or is in the process of investing at least $250,000 into her startup enterprise. The Startup Visa Act also creates a new employment based sixth category (EB-6) if after the initial 2 year period the alien entrepreneur can show that she has created at least five full time jobs for US workers other than her family members, secured $1 million in additional investment funds or realized $1 million in business income.

Hence, this proposed legislation would create a nonimmigrant and immigrant visa categories to encourage those foreign entrepreneurs who have a concept worthy of enticing a US investor to spend at least $250,000 initially in their businesses. Hence, this law is not intended to attract capital into the US as the alien entrepreneur EB-5 program does. The EB-5 program requires the alien to show an injection of capital into the US from legal means. On the contrary, the Startup Visa Act of 2010 does not require the alien to come up with any cash at all. To the contrary, this proposed statute stands to attract entrepreneurs with “good concepts” or “good business ideas.” In today’s economic environment, US investors are only enticed by feasible concepts backed by strong and sound business potential. Senators Kerry and Lugar believe that there still exists sufficient good will in America that would recognize hopeful business concepts brought in by foreign entrepreneurs, and that it is in the US’ best interest to create a path to citizenship for those aliens who introduce them.

Further this bill recognizes that business concepts and ideas generate revenues not capital alone. Perhaps this proposed law recognizes that America does not only require the injection of foreign capital but needs creative entrepreneurship as well to revitalize. These foreign entrepreneurs will not displace the job prospects of US workers nor will they adversely affect the working conditions of the American workforce. To the contrary, these entrepreneurs will establish companies which in turn will create more jobs. In the midst of good news, one can only hope that the agency in charge of administering this program, if this law passes, would adjudicate these visas in the spirit of the drafters of this legislation.

The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA is proficient in processing nonimmigrant and immigrant visa cases involving foreign investors. We have a track record in representing foreign investors many of whom come to the US to operate small businesses and franchises. If you have a question regarding an investment visa, contact us by e-mail or telephonically.