Washington, March 15 (IANS) Two senior senators have introduced a bipartisan legislation aimed at slowing down the outflow of skilled talent and boost entrepreneurship in the US 'to drive job creation and increase America's global competitiveness'.
Introduced Monday by John Kerry, Democratic chairman, and Richard Lugar, top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the bill adds provisions to last year's draft Startup Visa Act to allow foreign students in US universities and workers on H-1B visas to start companies in the US.
The StartUp Visa Act of 2011 will allow an immigrant entrepreneur to receive a two year visa if he or she can show that a qualified US investor is willing to invest in the immigrant's startup venture.
Under the updated version, the pool of eligible immigrants would now also include holders of H-1B visas and entrepreneurs living outside the US with a market presence in the country.
The new legislation provides visas to the following groups under certain conditions:
First: Entrepreneurs living outside the US - if a US investor agrees to financially sponsor their entrepreneurial venture with a minimum investment of $100,000.
Two years later, the startup must have created five new American jobs and either have raised over $500,000 in financing or be generating more than $500,000 in yearly revenue.
Second: Workers on an H-1B visa, or graduates from US universities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or computer science - if they have an annual income of at least $30,000 or assets of at least $60,000 and have had a US investor commit investment of at least $20,000 in their venture.
Two years later, the startup must have created three new American jobs and either have raised over $100,000 in financing or be generating more than $100,000 in yearly revenue.
Third: Foreign entrepreneurs whose business has generated at least $100,000 in sales from the US. Two years later, the startup must have created three new American jobs and either have raised over $100,000 in financing or be generating more than $100,000 in yearly revenue.
'Every job-creating American business started as an idea in the mind of an entrepreneur. We need to keep and bring more of those ideas to our shores where they can put Americans to work,' Kerry said.
'Global competition for talent and investment grows more intense daily and the United States must step up or be left behind,' he said.
'We want to establish a way for the smartest and most entrepreneurial individuals in the world to come to the United States and create jobs. Many are already here studying at our great universities,' said Lugar.
'Helping them stay to invest in their ideas and create jobs benefits all Americans.'
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)