Welcome to our VC Policy Pulse series, where we speak with a VC or founder on a policy issue that is having a major impact on the venture and startup ecosystem. Today, we’re speaking with Scott Raney, Managing Director at Redpoint, and Sophie Alcorn, Founding Attorney of Alcorn Immigration Law, about a Startup Visa category for immigrant entrepreneurs who want to come to the U.S. to create a new company.
NVCA has long supported the creation of a Startup Visa that offers a separate visa category for immigrant entrepreneurs who create a new business, are backed by venture capitalists or other investors, and create American jobs. A Startup Visa is a common-sense way to grow the American economy through new company formation by immigrant entrepreneurs. Far from taking the job of an American, an immigrant entrepreneur can only qualify for the Startup Visa when he or she has created jobs for Americans and has been backed by investors with a track record of success.
While the U.S. has failed to pass a Startup Visa into law, more than 20 other countries—including Canada, the U.K., France, Spain, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, and Singapore—have put into place a Startup Visa or a similar structure. This puts the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage in the competition for global entrepreneurial talent.
On July 26, Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced the Let Immigrants Kickstart Employment (LIKE) Act of 2021. NVCA strongly supports the LIKE Act. Rep. Lofgren’s bill creates both a nonimmigrant and immigrant Startup Visa, as well as a mechanism for startups to recruit key foreign-born employees. NVCA has enthusiastically endorsed Lofgren’s bill and is working to build support.