As it exists today, our outdated immigration system is a drag on U.S. competitiveness and puts us at risk of losing access to the best and brightest talent from around the world. In a competitive global economy, the U.S. must create a pathway to citizenship for entrepreneurs who want to start, build and grow companies in the U.S.
Over the last several years, many lawmakers in Congress have tried unsuccessfully to reform our nation’s broken immigration system. While those efforts have not yet been fruitful, eventually the political stars will align and immigration reform will move forward. When that time comes, comprehensive immigration reform must include the creation of a new visa category for entrepreneurs who come to the U.S. and raise private capital for their business.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on both sides of the Capitol recognize that the venture capital industry is investing in entrepreneurs that are building high-growth companies that strengthen the U.S. economy and create American jobs. They also understand that many of these entrepreneurs come from other countries. In fact, between 2006 and 2012, 33% of venture-backed companies that went public were founded by immigrant entrepreneurs.
Because so many venture-backed entrepreneurs are immigrants from other countries, NVCA has long advocated in support of comprehensive immigration reform, with a specific focus on ensuring foreign-born entrepreneurs have the opportunity to build businesses in the U.S. To that end, NVCA supports the creation of a new visa category for foreign-born founders who come to the U.S. to start and build companies.
While the H-1B Visa has many groups fighting for it, this new visa category, which directly benefits venture-backed companies is less known, but nonetheless a critical ingredient to maintaining the job and company creation that has benefitted our economy. As the debate over immigration reform moves forward, NVCA will continue to advocate for the creation of this new visa category as well as ensure that the level of investment an entrepreneur must raise is reasonable and that the number of jobs that must be created are achievable.