Supported by a group of Silicon Valley investors who visited Washington this week, the bill would revise the E-5 visa program to accredit any foreign entrepreneur who has raised at least $250,000 for a business venture. The bill calls for the creation of a new two-year visa called EB-6 for successful applicants. More than 150 U.S. venture capitalists have supported the legislation.
"Everywhere Dick Lugar and I travel for the Foreign Relations Committee," said Kerry in a statement, "we see firsthand the entrepreneurial spirit driving the economies of our competitors. Creating a new magnet for innovations and innovators to come to the United States and create jobs here will offer our economy a double shot in the arm -- robust job creation at home and reaffirmation that we're the world's best place to do business."
The legislation, dubbed the Startup Visa Act of 2010, calls for amending existing EB-5 immigration laws. If an immigrant entrepreneur attracts $1 million in additional investments or achieves $1 million in revenue, the entrepreneur would be granted permanent legal resident status. According to many of the venture capitalists supporting the bill, high-tech startups would likely benefit from the bill.
Many U.S. computer and IT companies have been started by immigrants from foreign countries.
For instance a 2006 study of high-tech firms found that nearly half of the founders were immigrants. The study listed many foreign immigrants who founded successful companies, including Intel's Andy Grove, from Hungary; Sun Microsystem's Andreas Bechtolsheim, Germany, and Vinod Khosla, India; eBay's Pierre Omidyar, France; Yahoo's Jerry Yang, Taiwan; Google's Sergey Brin, Russia; Nvidia's Jen-Hsun Huang, Taiwan; and Cascade Communications' Gururaj Despande, India.