Newly re-elected President Barack Obama seems to have greeted the entrepreneur community with a welcome sign. In a move clearly aimed at pleasing the foreign innovators & business pioneers who have setup or wish to setup companies will now have a special VISA called ‘Startup Visa’. Within the immigration reforms was included this special provision for foreign-born entrepreneurs who launch successful startups to remain in the country.
Foreign originating entrepreneurs especially from India have setup multiple successful enterprises on US soil. Since the emergence of Silicon Valley, many Indians have immigrated to US to work in the tech paradise. However, recent amendments in the immigrations as well as H1B VISAS which are mandatory to work in the US, have made it extremely difficult if not impossible, to work for longer periods. Though people can still apply & work in the US, these laws seemed to promote home-grown talent to foreign sourced one.
Are there any catches? Though the immigration policy has now become lenient with expatriates, they will have to prove financial credibility in the initial & long term phases as well. In other words, foreign born entrepreneurs can continue ‘indefinitely’ as long as they raise a minimum level of financing and employ a certain number of workers. The startups will have to keep growing & performing in order to secure a near-permanent place on the US land & in its economic structure.
Quite recently, we had witnessed how, many entrepreneurs, some even successful, were returning to India. Either being driven out due to such policies or due to a gnawing need to do something in their home country, this mass exodus was quite evident.
Why the change of heart? The president noted that many immigrants who study at elite American universities are unable to secure visas or permanent residency and are forced to launch their startups abroad. “Right now there are brilliant students from all around the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities. They are earning degrees in the fields of the future like engineering and computer science. But once they finish school, once they earn that diploma, there’s a good chance they’ll have to leave our country” he said .
Though US does have some of the most brilliant minds, majority of those have in fact migrated there. Companies like Hotmail, Sun Microsystems, Juniper Networks are well known companies built by foreign entrepreneurs. If this becomes a reality soon, will those who have returned to their home countries, go back to US?
Image Source | Startup Visa