U.S. immigration officials held a summit earlier this week to introduce an initiative dubbed “Entrepreneurs in Residence.” Many entrepreneurs have studied in the United States, only to take that education overseas to start businesses that compete against U.S ideas.
The new immigration initiative does not seek to create a startup visa program, but rather to review current immigration laws to find ways to allow immigration policy to “provide pathways that are clear, consistent, and aligned with business realities.”
Many commentators agree that new immigration laws in 2012, to address comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, are unlikely to pass through Congress. Critics of U.S. immigration policy say that the laws as they stand are fostering a system of reverse brain drain as immigrants have limited pathways to permanent residency after college in the area of high-tech disciplines.
One researcher from Duke University tells Bloomberg News that current employment visa rules prohibit startup companies from sponsoring employment visas for their founders. An immigrant entrepreneur may be forced to start a company elsewhere do to U.S. immigration policy. According to many involved with the recent high-tech immigration summit.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Alejandro Mayorkas and other government officials are reportedly aware that many business executives are seeking an immigration fix. Critics of current policy say that, at times, immigration officials are too skeptical of new businesses in the high-tech areas in considering immigration visas.
Immigration authorities say that the Entrepreneurs in Residence program will review immigration policy under current law in an effort to address these issues. The government says it plans to work with a select group of business and academic leaders from the private sector in reviewing the laws. USCIS seeks to use the program to enhance immigration policy and to make sure the system is better suited to current business principles associated with high-growth companies.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “The New Entrepreneur, Making U.S. Visa Programs Work for Tech Entrepreneurs,” John Tozzi, Feb. 22, 2012