Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists will be working the halls of Congress and the Obama administration this week to promote the Startup Visa Act of 2010, which would grant green cards to immigrant entrepreneurs who bring new companies to the United States, if they can demonstrate funding from U.S.-based investors.
The legislation, introduced last week by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), would modify the existing EB-5 visa to allow job-creating entrepreneurs to immigrate to the United States. The bill requires each entrepreneur to have a sponsoring U.S. venture capital or angel investor who will invest at least $100,000 in their startup, and total funds raised must be at least $250,000 per company.
The immigrant entrepreneur must also create five or more jobs (not including their children or spouse) within two years, attract an additional $1 million in investment, or produce $1 million in revenues to become a legal resident.
"Job creation is a national priority," Dave McClure, organizer of the trip and a venture capitalist and former software entrepreneur, said in a statement. "With the Startup Visa Act, we can create thousands of new jobs immediately, and tens of thousands more as these new startups grow into the next Googles, Yahoos and eBays of their generation. It's a huge win-win, and we're traveling to DC to encourage the quick passage of this much-needed reform."
While in Washington, the group will be meeting with members of Congress, the White House, Commerce Department, State Department and Small Business Administration.
"Global competition for talent and investment grows more intense daily and the United States must step up or be left behind," Kerry said in introducing the legislation. "Everywhere Dick Lugar and I travel for the Foreign Relations Committee, 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."
More than 160 venture capitalists from across the country have endorsed the senators' proposal.