It looks like the startup founder visa, a concept that has a lot of backing from the startup and venture community, might actually become a reality: Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar (a Democrat and a Republican, respectively) today introduced the Startup Visa Act, which reflects many of the ideas pushed by the movement’s advocates.
The idea is to create an alternative to existing visa programs like the H-1B, a temporary visa for immigrants working in high-tech or other specialized fields. The H-1B visa, in particular, has been in extremely high demand in past years, but the program has also been somewhat controversial because of competition with US workers. A special founder visa would prioritize bringing entrepreneurs into the country, keeping the United States competitive as a hub of global startup activity. A startup visa should also avoid some of the controversy of other visa programs, since a startup founder is ostensibly creating jobs, not competing for them.
Specifically, Kerry and Lugar propose creating a visa for startup entrepreneurs who have raised at least $100,000 per founder and $250,000 per company from US investors. In the two years after receiving a visa, those entrepreneurs are required to either create five jobs for employees who aren’t immediate family members, raise $1 million in financing, or generate $1 million in revenue.
I’ve embedded the text of the proposed act below.