Will we follow Canada and Create a Visa Category for Immigrant Entrepreneurs?

With Canada’s start up visa gaining publicity, employers in and around Silicon Valley as well as in IT hubs throughout the United States, are wondering whether the U.S. Congress will create a similar path for entrepreneurs here. Analysts speculate that a start up visa could become part of the larger comprehensive immigration reform bill. Some of the features proposed in this bill include conditional permanent residence and a possible path to citizenship for sponsored entrepreneurs. To be a sponsored entrepreneur, applicants must meet the following requirements:

must prove that a qualified venture capitalist, qualified angel investor, or qualified government entity has invested at least $100,000 on behalf of the entrepreneur, and must show that, within two years of receiving the visa, the enterprise will:
-create at least 5 new full-time jobs in the U.S. for people other than the entrepreneur’s spouse or children, or
-raise at least $500,000 in capital investment in furtherance of U.S. based growth, or
-generate at least $500,000 in revenue, and the entrepreneur must hold an unexpired H1-B visa or have completed a graduate level degree in science, technology, engineering, math, computer science, or other relevant discipline from an accredited U.S. college, university, or institution of higher education, and must demonstrate an annual income of not less that 250% of the federal poverty level or must possess assets equal to at least 2 years of income at 250% of the federal poverty level, and must prove that a qualified venture capitalist, qualified super angel investor, or a qualified government entity has invested at least $20,000 on behalf of the entrepreneur, or the entrepreneur must have a controlling interest in a foreign company that has generated at least $100,000 in revenue from sales in the U.S. during the most recent 12 month period, and within two years of the visa being issued will:
-create at least 3 new full-time jobs in the U.S. for people other than the entrepreneur’s spouse or children, or
-raise at least $100,000 in capital investment in furtherance of U.S. based growth, or
-generate at least $100,000 in revenue

While these requirements are likely to shift as the immigration debate wears on, our firm is considering the possibilities of this new visa category. It may very well help alleviate the strain of the H1B cap and create job growth at the same time.


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