Good news for foreign graduates of U.S. universities: the so-called Startup Act 3.0, a bipartisan bill granting 125,000 more employment-based green cards each year, was last week introduced by four U.S. Senators. The act would allocate 75,000 green cards to immigrants who start companies and another 50,000 to graduates of U.S. universities with advanced science and engineering degrees.
The bill, put forth by U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Roy Blunt (R-MT), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Chris Coons (D-DD), specifies that entrepreneurs must attract $100,000 of start-up capital investment and use it to create a business that employs at least 5 people for 3 years. Recent graduates must have higher degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.
It is my hope that Congress will pass this bill quickly. The U.S. desperately needs highly-skilled workers in the technological fields to stay competitive globally. The statistics are staggering: immigrants were responsible or partly responsible for 52% of Internet startups in the U.S. between 1995 and 2005. Recently, that number has fallen to 42% as the government has made it increasingly difficult for the people who are the most needed to move here.
Since his reelection in November, President Obama has called for comprehensive immigration reform by the end of 2013 and a group of eight senators, known as the Gang of Eight, has worked out the framework for an act that just might work. Resolving the issue of business immigration is a crucial facet of comprehensive reform. It is our hope that very soon foreign graduates of U.S. universities majoring in science and engineering will have a shot at using their skills and expertise stateside.