This would just allow the rich and connected to choose thousands of people to budge to the front of a 3-5 year long line that other green gard applicants (EB-3) are waiting in. If there are resources available to process more EB-5's and EB-6's, then put them to use accelerating the process for the people that have already waited years for their applications to be approved. Accelerate that process and you'll accelerate the creation of startups by our friends that are already here.
Edit: Above I said "a 3-5 year line," which is inaccurate. The current line is 7-9 years long.
That's such a dishonest way of describing the situation that it's hard to believe it wasn't deliberate. You describe this bill as if it merely allowed powerful people to get their friends into the country, and it's not like that at all. Startup investors are not identical with the rich and connected. Angel investors are generally fairly rich, but not all VCs are. And they're not choosing people at random to bring into the country. They have to invest money in someone's startup to do that.
As other people have commented, when you say "anachronistic" you really are being chauvinistic. I.e. you're assuming that there's no such thing as non-EU citizens who actually want to work in Europe. Those people face similar hurdles to those wanting to work in the US.
(I have no horse in this race; living in Europe, the idea of a visa seems a bit anachronistic, really.)
I can understand why visas might seem obsolete from a European perspective, but from an American perspective regulation is a necessity. Per year we already accept the highest number of permanent residents in the world. In 2008 we naturalized a record number of people. And most importantly, per year we grant the highest number of people political asylum. These numbers, combined with the fact that unemployment in the US is the highest it's been since the early 1940s, makes accepting large number of immigrants impossible.
I'm not defending this bill or the current system; I know there are areas that need improvement. But fundamentally the US needs some sort of visa system.
"And most importantly, per year we grant the highest number of people political asylum. These numbers, combined with the fact that unemployment in the US is the highest it's been since the early 1940s, makes accepting large number of immigrants impossible."
This claim is specious: the high-end immigrants who are likely to start tech companies and earn PhDs are enormously employable and likely to employ others. If you want more employment, bring in people who are likely to make jobs; notice the high number of tech startups with founders who are immigrants or the children of immigrants.
Still, I doubt that these visas are going to have any noticeable impact on unemployment because the rate at which they'll be granted isn't going to be high enough.
If you are not a EU citizen you need a residence permit and a work permit. I don't know how different the rules are between the EU countries, but it's roughly the same everwhere. A work permit is typically tied to an employer, and a residence permit is typically tied to a work permit.
Easiest to get a student visa here in Sweden (I know, I am on one!). They are also a lot easier to deal with once you are in the country and trying to extend... just show them you have money/income and won't be leaching off their system and they are happy.
Usually you need a permanent residence permit (Greencard equivalent), and then it has to be a fairly recent one as the laws were only harmonized in the last 5 years. And even then, the permit for most of the EU isn't valid for the UK or Ireland.
In Germany the first permit that you get (an H1B equivalent) is tied to one job, and hence, tied to the place where you have that job. After 5 years of working full-time (and a long string of other checklist items), you're eligible to begin the application process for permanent residence (which I now have).
My fault, I don't know why I confused the permit to stay (expires every 2 years) with permanent residence. Well, in Italy you just need a home and revenue to obtain a permit to stay (work related). The permanent residence or permit to stay doesn't lock you to the first job it was issued for, though.
However you can still (with the permit to stay) move between UE countries, just get back to Italy and declare revenue (as entrepreneur).
As a Bulgarian citizen working in Germany, this is only partially the case. Germany does require work permits for Bulgarian citizens EMPLOYED here (except for certain exempt categories, such as scientific staff) but this does not apply to self-employment. In fact, there are no nationality restrictions for self-employment within the EU, and such restrictions would be illegal. So Bulgarian/Romanian citizens do need a permit to be employed within the EU countries that are still paranoid about their employment market, but don't need one to work there if self-employed.
Why is anything I said false? Because I used the word "just"? Take out the word "just" and everything we both said is true: there are VC's that aren't rich, and rich people will be able to abuse this to get their friends green cards, while those without connections have to wait and work for 7-9 years to get their green cards.
Put the "EB-6" people in the same line as the EB-3 people and the proposed legislation becomes a lot more fair, but useless. Speed up the EB-3 process and lots of people stuck working under a H1-B would quit their jobs and start their own businesses. The could do so with the money they've saved, or negotiate fair deals with investors.
I'm sure they will. However, rich people are such a minority that in 90%+ of cases this law will be used for its intended purpose.
Rich people can also "abuse" speeding and parking ticket laws(you can speed and park anywhere if you can afford the tickets), tax laws, etc. Just the way of the world. I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it.
Not every startup and entrepreneur out there is able to raise funding. Many are bootstrapped. Of those many, some will definitely go on to become businesses that raise money later, make money, and/or create jobs. EB6 rules out all such aspiring entrepreneurs.
There's hardly a regulation that's been passed in the past century that hasn't opened up opportunities for abuse. If the potential for abuse is enough to make a law a bad idea, then there would be precious few laws ever passed.
Which, I must confess, appeals to me personally, but if we concede that we need the ability to legislate, then the simple potential for abuse can't be showstopper for any individual piece of legislation.
Rates and/or severity of abuse maybe, but not the simple possibility of it.
obviously the issue of how fast the INS is able to process legitimate green card applications is an issue, however i don't feel that it's a legitimate reason to exclude this new proposed legislation.
we can attack the problem by focusing on improving INS processing times, rather than excluding other valid applicants (of any type). we are certainly not suggesting StartupVisa green card applicants "move to the front of the line" ahead of anyone else, simply that their application be considered fairly & reasonably along with others.
She is trying to find a way to "upgrade" to EB-2 or to get a National Interest Waiver. Although she has a master's degree from a US university, her profession (high school foreign language teacher) doesn't usually get job postings requiring more than a BA. Also, at the college level, they generally make you wait a long time before they even start the green card process (or even H1-B).
However, besides her, I've met others in similar or worse situations, stuck in the EB-3 queue. Even if my friend got her green card under EB-2, I'd still be advocating for the EB-3 workers.
I of course agree with you that the startup visa is a great idea, but I think Brian's other point is that US immigration as a whole is so fundamentally flawed that there are lots of areas that need large amounts of additional funding. This is a true political point, but there's not much we can do about it. As a political issue, the average American doesn't care about immigrants except for knowing that they want less of them.
I give you and startupvisa.com for actually taking a political issue to the point where one of the power-holding senators was willing to introduce legislation. And maybe if it comes to a vote while attached to the military funding bill or something it will pass! I don't think populists have enough power to speak out against the bill, so whether or not it passes probably comes down to random DC "inside baseball".
META: I ask that if you (anyone reading this) do not have something profoundly interesting to say that you not reply with any political discussion.
US immigration is so unbelievably messed up that there is little productive we can say. Like... there are actually networks of secret immigration prisons that lose people regularly. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100104/stevens
To correct myself, Fred Wilson points out in his blog post that it will be anti-immigration people against this bill, not specifically populists, and the anti-immigration people will be against the bill... so this doesn't come to inside baseball, and people writing to their elected representatives might make a difference.
Lest someone else respond to me, I don't mean to imply that there aren't many more viable strategies for fixing the world! If you think you can save the world, I would prefer to discuss it with you via email rather than in this thread.
It's entrepreneurial servitude. You come in and build a business to our specifications, making a certain amount of money for the rich investors or you lose your rights to live here.
When the entrepreneur is booted out because (s)he was unable to generate $1M in revenue a year after 2 years in business, what happens to the business? Do the investors retain ownership? What legal rights does the entrepreneur have over the business (s)he created?
There are no laws in America protecting the rights of these entrepreneurs who are not citizens. They are here to build a business, hopefully, but if they miss the marks, they lose everything! Their home, their business, their employees, and potentially the rights to any revenues, IP, or equity in the company they founded. Do you think some rich investors who have the ability to have our nation's laws changed to their favor are going to stop taking money out of a business because its entrepreneur isn't allowed to live in the U.S. anymore? It'll be business as usual for them, with or without the entrepreneur who created the business.
This bill is good for no one but rich investors. It's definitely not good for entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship has absolutely nothing to do with venture capital or investors or people with at least $10M in the bank. It's about creating businesses with the sweat off your back. If we are going to reward something -- reward that -- no strings attached!
Especially not strings attached to the fingers of the same rich folks who have caused so many problems in our nation already!
This is so horrible. What is happening to our country??
> There are no laws in America protecting the rights of these entrepreneurs who are not citizens. They are here to build a business, hopefully, but if they miss the marks, they lose everything! Their home, their business, their employees, and potentially the rights to any revenues, IP, or equity in the company they founded.
Where are you getting this from?
Non-residents can own things that happen to be in the US. They can sell them. They can even buy them.
> This is true, but you are forfeiting any active management position, authority and likely control, which is basically the same as being fired as CEO.
Again - no, being deported doesn't cause any of those things. The owners of the biz are the ones who make that decison.
Since we're assuming that you're being deported because you're not satisfying the conditions of the startup visa, what are the odds that said owners would have kept you on anyway?
Advocates of the startup visa said that they wanted to bring folks into the company to create biz. Fair enough, but what should we conclude when they complain about deporting folks who don't do what they wanted?
And, what should we conclude when they make up stories about the consequences of deportation?
You are using an unrelated but true argument to make your case by attacking my supposed criticism of the visa rules. I am not criticizing the rules, only pointing out that the deportation clause of the visa has consequences on control.
Yes, there have to be measurable metrics to gauge traction. Yes, I agree that 2 (3?) years is an acceptable time to create 5 jobs OR earn a mil OR raise a mil. Yes, unless those who don't meet these rules are deported, the rules won't have teeth.
But neither of those points has anything to do with the argument that deportation is synonymous with losing position, authority and likely control.
Maintaining control of a startup that is funded is a challenging job even when you are in the country. It should be. In my opinion, it would take a genius to remotely manage a startup. Even if you continue to be a majority owner after an investment, it would be very tough at best and foolish at worst to try to manage it from another country. That is assuming that it's a decision you alone can make, and your investors have no actual say in the matter.
The bottom line is that at the end of 2 (3?) years, if you don't meet these metrics, you will be in a different country than your company and very likely unable to control it without large scale changes in business model and/or structure.
> But neither of those points has anything to do with the argument that deportation is synonymous with losing position, authority and likely control.
Deportation is not syonymous with any of those things.
Those things are decided by the folks who control the biz. They're free to keep the person on after deportation. They're free to do those things even if the person isn't deported.
Yes, deportation may be a good reason for them to make certain decisions, but since they're free to ignore that reason, it isn't synonymous.
As to "nothing to do", the only reasons to discuss this are (1) if we let someone in on a startup visa, we shouldn't deport them if they fail, (2) folks who succeed on a startup visa might be deported, and (3) random cussedness.
Regardless, it's simply not true that being deported necessarily has the effects claimed.
entrepreneurs are no stranger to risk. yes, there is a risk they do not meet the basic qualification to remain in the country. however, they are fairly basic: can you create a minimum of 5 jobs in the US within 2 years? (or reach break-even on $1M in revenue, or raise subsequent financing of $1M or more).
entrepreneurs who fail to meet the bar are not being unfairly punished by investors, rich or otherwise.
these rqmts are simply the proposed bar for qualification. meet them, and you can stay. nothing more, nothing less.
this is a considerably better situation than what we have currently.
Speaking from a country's self interest, don't rich people benefit the country more than poor? Isn't the US better off tax-wise, and wealthier, if it is able to tax a millionaire than a cab driver? Is there something morally objectionable about trying to attract "desirables" or is it just that we need to see the visa process in some way as "fair?"
Speaking as a Canadian who immigrated from Asia, and know a large number of rich Asians who have also followed the same path, the situation is really not as simple as you put it.
The rich are in no way obligated to share their wealth with you - as the Canadian government has unfortunately learned. Our immigration programs have three paths: skilled labour, investment, and entrepreneurial. Skilled labour is simply letting people in who have skills we need, investment expects that you invest a $HIGH_AMOUNT into the Canadian economy (with the expectation, not requirement, of more), and entrepreneurial requires that you run your own business for $TIME before you qualify for citizenship.
The first category is usually a win for the country, since these people seek employment and are taxable, not to mention you didn't have to pay for their education.
The second and third categories are fundamentally broken - I personally know many families who do the absolute bare minimum to hit the permanent residency requirements, and keep all of their wealth off the books in Asia, bringing them in literal suitcases of cash (staying just under the declaration limit each time). Heck, I know families that are receiving government benefits for low-income families even though they have millions in property overseas.
My point is, unless you require rich immigrants to give up a huge chunk of money just to get in, expecting that the rich will contribute to your tax base is IMHO misguided. These people are already rich, for cryin' out loud.
Many countries, Canada included, have bilateral agreements on only taxing income once. So, if these people you know make money off foreign property, they pay taxes on it in the country where it is located. They do not have to pay taxes again in Canada. Which I think is fair: would you want to pay double taxes on your income?
Double check the relevant treaties. They are often written to say that where double taxation exists, the secondary country may collect their usual tax minus what was paid to the primary. Therefore if the secondary country has a higher tax rate, there is an incentive to keep it off the books.
That said, Canadian law tends to tax people on Canadian earnings. (Or at least it did the last time I paid attention, which was admittedly 15 years ago or so.) Which contrasts to US law that taxes US citizens on worldwide earnings (though the US does give a large exemption for foreign sourced income that keeps this from affecting a lot of people).
This is not about double-taxation - but rather that taxes in Canada are higher than just about any place in Asia (for good reason: Canada has considerably more social assistance programs than most Asian countries).
> don't rich people benefit the country more than poor?
Questions like that cannot be answered in any definite manner. If the rich use their capital to create wealth, then it benefits the country. If the rich use it to alter public policy to their advantage, then it harms the country. A new visa process should not enable the rich to game the system unfairly to their advantage at the expense of other prospective applicants.
Honestly, this is a philosophical question that I can't offer an answer to without the potential contamination of lots of personal bias, but I'll tell you how I think about it.
A lot of countries have a lot of rich people at the helm and aren't really, what I would call, benefiting from that. It could even be argued that a lot of the problems in countries are caused by the rich.
I think about it kind of like this: We all want to keep getting richer. I just take that as the rule from which I derive a couple more points on this topic.
First, to be a noticeable increase in wealth, that increase must be appreciable. It must be felt by the wealthy person. I think to appreciate it, it must be a certain percentage change. We probably wouldn't notice a 0.05% increase in our wealth, but we would notice a 50% increase.
Second, assume rich people and poor people desire an equivalent feeling of wealth growth. If I make $10k a year, $1,000 more next year will feel great. I'll have almost $100 more to spend a month. Someone making $100k desires an increase in wealth of $10,000 a year.
Now, if we spread that $10,000 worth of wealth created to make the rich person feel better to the poor people who only needed $1,000 additional a year to feel better, we could have made 10 people happier, instead of just one person happier when that money went to the rich person. $20,000 worth of wealth could make 20 people happier, instead of 1 rich person and 10 poor people = 11 people.
If you believe in Greatest Good for the Greatest Number anyway, but not all subscribe to that philosophy. I do I think. If one person experienced elation at the expense of the whole world, would that be good? Not to suggest that I would offer to harm a minority to bring joy to the world. But I do wonder if growth is beneficial. I think it may not be. It could be bad.
So, I am not sure how to answer your question. I do not know for a fact if it is in a country's self interest to encourage the growth of the investor class with at least $10M in the bank. It may take a lot of stagnation or depression among the working class or creative class to create additional wealth for an already rich minority.
Further from that, if you raise the foundation, quantified as the poverty line perhaps, then it increases the quality of everyone's lives, even the rich. There's less crime, less blight, and people are simply much more pleasant to be around than when there are huge disparities between the rich and the poor.
> If you believe in Greatest Good for the Greatest Number anyway, but not all subscribe to that philosophy. I do I think.
This is a bit tangential, but I think it's quite important - Greatest Good is a very important belief for someone to consider, and you've written really thoughtfully and introspectively. Here's my perspective, which is a little different:
Sometimes I voluntarily do things to make other people happier. I donate to St. Jude's Children Hospital in the USA, and I've run two small charity events for Great Ormond Street Children's in London, raising a tiny bit of money for sick kids and their families. When I was younger and Catholic, I also volunteered for the Catholic Arts Festival, and I've volunteered at soup kitchens. I spend lots of my time teaching pretty much anyone who cares at all whatever they want to know, including last month teaching a really nice 26-year-old kindergarten teacher how to negotiate for better pay after she got an offer at a great school but they were offering below market pay. I spent three hours teaching her how to negotiate, see others' points of view, and leave it open for them to raise their offer without increasing hostility. I did this just because I like to do good things, I didn't get anything in return except a feeling of doing something good.
So, I really like helping people. But once someone says, you need to help this person, or you're in trouble - my skin crawls. I hate it. It sends every signal to me to resist, to fight, to fight back, to counterattack, to throw off these mandates and chains people would place on me. They want my resources by force? They want my time by force? They want to restrict freely where I can go, and what I can do, and who I can trade with, and what I can buy for myself, and what I can do in my own home, in my own company, with my own friends, and so on, and so on?
To that - to that I say no. Or rather, if they've got me out-gunned, I submit, but I grit my teeth and submit. You see, I think I aim to make myself overwhelmingly a net positive anywhere I go. I try to be polite and respect local culture, share the best things from my culture, teach people, learn, work, prosper, and make others prosper. But frequently people say, "We could do even more good!" And so, with that justification, they limit my mobility, or give a regulator the authority to regulate a transaction between me and another person, or pass a tax, or conscript, or close borders, or so on.
I'm against that all tremendously. So this is an alternative perspective on Greatest Good for Greatest Number. I'm against it, because I know I do right by people, and I feel comfortable ethically with how much I contribute. I feel pretty good about what I do, actually. And I think anyone who isn't a criminal and can support themselves should be largely allowed to do what they like, without fear of being beaten down if they don't do what authorities say is right. It doesn't particularly matter to me how legitimate the authorities believe they are - whether they've got a divine right of kings, or are blessed and anointed by the head of the church, or are elected through direct democracy, or representational democracy - maybe their governorship is more or less legitimate, but if they start saying, "We must do the greatest good, you must do this, you can't do that - in the name of good" I get very upset and believe that's wrong. I submit, because they're much much stronger than me, but it's with a mix of teeth gritted, sadness, and indignation. This isn't a right or wrong perspective per se, I just wanted to take a moment to share an alternate one with you. It's a little bit tangential from the investor discussion, but I think it's really important to think about.
I'm not suggesting we take the $10,000 from a rich person and give it to 10 poor people, rather I'm saying, "We have a surplus of wealth equal to $10,000 and must decide what to do with it. Someone is going to benefit, how do we distribute the surplus such that it creates the most good?
I would suggest distributing the wealth equally among all is the best route to the greatest happiness, rather than giving most or all of it to one individual for whom it may not even be noticed.
I'm not sure, restricting freedoms of the innocent or demanding individuals work to benefit others at their own expense could create a net positive. The "badness" of that might be infinity.
The wealth comes from within the borders of a given country. Government might not be in the business of creating wealth, but it is in the business of controlling who gets to be within its geographical borders.
If you look throughout history, it's never really worked out well to allow a rich minority to determine what happens to people and the land. Since time immemorial, a rich few have been abusing the property rights of others. Even America was founded by a rich minority who took the wealth of the land from the majority incumbents.
Without arguing the points above one way or another:
Unless I misread your initial message, you suggested that the government was not "taking" wealth from anyone, but rather it somehow had "surplus" wealth to be distributed. My question is more finely tuned to "where did this 'surplus' wealth come from, if it was not 'taken' from someone at some point?"
Only if you are on a low-priority employment-based visa and are Indian or Chinese born (i.e. waiting for priority date to become current). The process is still much too long though, even in other cases.
Not that I want to defend the US immigration and employment visa processes. Far from it. The system as it stands is completely and utterly broken. It turns away many of the very people the nation needs to keep its competitive edge in the world.
Realistically though, it will be quite some time before any politician will be willing - or even able - to show the kind of leadership that is necessary to tackle immigration issues, regardless of the merits of doing so.
According to the letter submitted by Senators Kerry and Lugar, it would only affect resources for EB-5 visas (no mention of EB-3 visas):
To make visas available, we would amend immigration law to create a new EB-6 category for immigrant entrepreneurs. We would draw from existing visas under the EB-5 category. The EB-5 permits foreign nationals who invest at least $1 million in the U.S., and thereby create 10 jobs, to obtain a green card. In areas where unemployment is high, foreign nationals need only invest $500,000 to obtain residency. Though roughly 10,000 visas are annually allocated for the EB-5 category, less than half were used in FY 2009, so the addition of immigrant entrepreneurs should not present an unreasonable burden.
This merely branches a new visa off from EB-5, which is separate from, and has different intentions than, EB-3. EB-5 visas are not all being used up anymore, so both Senators are attempting to put those waisted EB-5's to good use. They imply that the proposed EB-6 visas "should not present an unreasonable burden" on the system.
That's not how it works. Whatever EB-5's don't get used eventually trickle down to EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3. They don't just go unused. If EB-6's start using them up, then there will be fewer EB-3's available every year.
i'm pretty sure that's incorrect, as the existing EB-5 visa allocations have a specific target of 10,000 visas (which are currently not even close to being used up, only ~1,000 are used every year).
if anything, prioritization is likely to work the other way:
EB-1s first, then EB-2s, EB-3s, etc. see language below for EB-1 priority visa workers (with "extraordinary abilities"):
The question is what happens to those "extra" 9,000 visa numbers that are pre-reserved for EB-5. Everything I've been told says that whatever numbers aren't used by EB-5s gets "spilled over," starting at the top (EB-1), instead of going unused.
This is a bill that proposes to give US venture capitalists the overt ability to terminate the residency status of founders and their families.
Not only do you have to get sponsored by an effectively arbitrary class of financiers (it is possible that Warren Buffet wouldn't qualify under these terms, depending on whether he has personally made 2 equity investments last year), but even if your company creates 10 US jobs and is cash-flow-positive, if you don't raise $1MM in capital or make $1MM in revenue, you're out.
From the senate statement; " a minimum of $250,000 -- into the immigrant's startup venture. If after two years the immigrant entrepreneur can show that he or she has generated at least 5 full-time jobs in the United States, attracted $1,000,000 in additional investment capital, or achieved $1,000,000 in revenue, then he or she would receive permanent legal resident status."
My personal thoughts are that it should be possible to start a company overseas, get far enough along to secure $250k in VC funding. Also, I would be surprised to find a successful startup that can't get $1m in revenue within 2 years.
While a VC can control additional investments, they have less control over revenue than most founders. A successful start-up should not be dependent on VC funding after 2 years unless it grows exponentially and needs the funds for growth.
Also the terms after 2 years are less than for an existing EB-5 visa.
Have you beat $1MM in revenue within 2 years of starting? We did.
(a) It wasn't easy.
(b) Before we beat that metric, we were still --- by virtually anyone on Hacker News' metrics --- a successful enterprise: growing, in control of our destiny, working on meaningful things, creating jobs.
The metrics in this bill are arbitrary (to put it charitably; there's an uncharitable interpretation too). A Thai entrepeneur who can create 5 viable US jobs should be granted a visa without an "angel investment". A Thai entrepreneur who can create viable jobs should be granted a visa without a postage stamp.
If you're at 500k already, you can probably pull off an EB-5.
Regardless, I'm not all that concerned about the 500k entrepreneurs.
I'm unclear on the "and" and "or" thing, too, but I think it's equally arbitrary to deport someone with 4 full-time employees for missing a $1MM mark, and I think 5 "full-time" employees is extremely gameable.
My interpretation is that you have 2 years to preform, and if you don't by the 3rd year - then you are deported, and not for missing the 2yr marks. You have 12 months of latitude if your heading in the right direction with employment.
I do agree that there is going to be some gaming of the system.
if you don't create 5 US jobs, but can generate EITHER $1M in revenue (at break-even or better), OR raise $1M in additional capital from ANY qualifying investor (doesn't have to be the original one), you get to stay.
please read the language carefully -- it does cover the situation adequately.
we did take quite a bit of time to consider the exact language, and worked hard to get it to be functional.
Yes, though not by much. There are two issues at play here: whether you can move to the US to start a business, and, regardless of where you run your business, how your business will operate. I think that the first issue is slightly less fair (it's more arbitrary and more ambiguous, but it's also more flexible). I think the second issue is much less fair.
Unused EB-5 visa numbers spill over to EB-1, and EB-1 to EB-2, and EB-2 to EB-3. This bill would eliminate the EB-5 -> EB-1 spillover, which has the effect of reducing the number of EB-2 and EB-3 green cards available per year.
please point out the information that supports your conclusion above. i'm not convinced unused EB-5s contribute to solving for other backlogs.
regardless, it's also not the case that all other backlogged visas are of higher priority than new visas. if there is a zero-sum game to be played, priorities could well be reviewed for all types of visas.
your argument for not approving this legislation seems to revolved solely around the backlog issue. there are other better ways to solve that problem than by simply stonewalling all other visa legislation.
Note that the H1-B visa also created a raft of unintended negative consequences. I don't know if it's gotten better since I worked with BigCo's in the Valley in the late '90s, but it was appalling back then.
> This is a bill that proposes to give US venture capitalists the overt ability to terminate the residency status of founders and their families.
"To make visas available, we would amend immigration law to create a new EB-6 category for immigrant entrepreneurs. We would draw from existing visas under the EB-5 category. The EB-5 permits foreign nationals who invest at $1 million in the U.S., and thereby creates 10 jobs, to obtain a green card. In areas where unemployment is high, foreign nationals only need to invest $500,000 to obtain residency. Though roughly 10,000 visas are annually allocated for the EB-5 category, less than half were used in FY 2009, so the addition of immigrant entrepreneurs should not present an unreasonable burden."
Green card is permanent residency - once they've got it, they've got it. This looks pretty awesome.
‘‘(3) SPONSORED ENTREPRENEURS.—The Sec-
retary of Homeland Security shall terminate the per- manent resident status of a sponsored entrepreneur and the alien spouse and children of such entre- preneur if the Secretary determines, not later than 3 years after the date on which such permanent resi- dent status was conferred, that—
‘‘(A) the qualified venture capitalist or qualified super angel investor who sponsored the entrepreneur failed to meet the investment requirements under section 203(b)(6)(A)(i); or
‘‘(B) the entrepreneur failed to meet the job creation, capital investment, or revenue gen- eration requirements under section 203(b)(6)(A)(ii).’’;
The job creation, capital investment, and revenue generation requirements (by the way, this language is ambiguous, with the "or" being more restrictive here and less restrictive earlier in the bill) are:
‘‘(I) create not fewer than 5 new full-time jobs in the United States employing people other than the im- migrant’s spouse, sons, or daughters;
‘‘(II) raise not less than $1,000,000 in capital investment in furtherance of a commercial entity based in the United States; or
‘‘(III) generate not less than $1,000,000 in revenue.
You know more about immigration law than I do. All I can do is read. Tell me what I'm misinterpreting.
Quick glance and please correct me if I got this wrong:
This only affects immigrants with permanent residency status who have been sponsored through this bill/law. You stated:
"This is a bill that proposes to give US venture capitalists the overt ability to terminate the residency status of founders and their families."
True in the sense that if the sponsored entrepreneur was unable to fulfill the job creation, capital investment, and revenue generation terms, then they technically were unable to create a successful enterprise. Any foreign 'entrepreneur' worth his salt should and must know of this requirement and in the awareness of it, must have prepared himself and his family for the consequences.
As for part (A) "...the qualified venture capitalist or qualified super angel investor who sponsored the entrepreneur failed to meet the investment requirements..."
I think this refers to the initial requirements that needed to have been met before the foreign entrepreneur is approved for residency. It could be that the VC committed to the investment (That IS a bitambiguous, but from experience, immigration officials will approve an application and give you a chance to fulfill a financial commitment some time after the sponsored entrepreneur has arrived, provided they are satisfied with whatever guarantee docs you've filed with them.) but was unable to fulfill it, so Homeland Security will start the process of terminating the permanent residency status of the sponsored entrepreneur.
Can this be twisted around by an 'evil' VC? I believe any system CAN be abused around given enough motivation. In this case, if I were an evil VC who convinced Mr. Chatroulette founder from Russia to come to America to blow his idea up 1000x through me, I'd bring him in, dupe him into signing his life away in a 'partnership', promise Homeland Security that I will fulfill my financial commitments, squeeze everything I can from this naive new sponsored entrepreneur in the 6mos-1yr that Homeland Security will take to enforce my commitment, then not pay up. Back to Russia goes 'sponsored entrepreneur' and his concept/resources stay here in the US.
Bottom line for all parties, due diligence. I believe the bill is being put forward in good faith. I believe that they believe it can create jobs. I believe that it is possible it can.
But all things considered, I'd rather concentrate resources on finding the cream of the crop in the US and helping THEM.
I believe this bill was conceived with the best of intentions. I believe everybody advocating it, including venture capitalists, are advocating with the best of intentions.
But their intentions don't matter at all. What matters is the law that the bill will create. And, as I read it, the law that this bill creates will have unintended negative consequences both for immigration and entrepreneurship.
i think you lose your side of the argument by arguing for any arbitrary amount. i'm happy to argue the merits of what the correct # is, but regardless i think we're just splitting hairs at that point... i've won the discussion.
besides, it's a rather ridiculous amount of hassle in both time & money to raise capital from experienced investors in exchange for hatching some supposedly nefarious scheme to -- wait for it -- hire some low-wage workers.
really, while i fully admit there may be gaming of the system attempted, this supposed workaround is quite a stretch -- it requires the participation of sophisticated investors willing to risk substantial amounts of capital, reputation, effort, and criminal penalty in order to execute.
this doesn't appear to be a rational point worth arguing, you're just being contrarian for the hell of it.
You're saying the same thing. To put it plainly, what I think tptacek is saying, is that after 3 years, investors have a strong upper hand in negotiating a round, knowing that "Homeland Security" has set an artificial bar for how much a company must raise if the founders are to stay in the country.
Relaxing doesn't have to mean give everyone a green card. It could mean, I think that's what Tom means, that don't tie it to a set of investors rather tie it to the performance of an individual. Create 10 jobs, make 1MM revenue, get them verified by IRS, you're in the clear.
If we look at H1-B situation, what makes employers abuse it and almost makes H1-B holders useless (for anything other than their current employment) is the tie visa has with the employer. If we make H1-B holders move around freely between jobs then there is less room for abuse. IMHO.
I think we're getting too personal. Both of you make a good point:
Thomas says that there certainly will be companies who will be forced to raise a arbitrary amounts of money at an arbitrary time (in both cases, I mean "arbitrary" in relation to their business), even when they're otherwise doing well. On top of that, the VCs negotiating that round will know that their investment is what determines the fate of the company.
Dave points out that this is the best solution which is politically viable.
Both seem true, in my opinion. Still, and with all due respect, Dave's bio does say he "invests in startups if they let him" (emphasis mine). This law will create a class of startups that are forced to look for investment at a stage that may have make business sense, with the only strategy at a "fair" valuation being to play off investors against each other. This is certainly in the interests of people who invest in startups.
I wonder if bundling the interests of "those who can afford to lobby" into laws is the only way to get laws passed in the US nowadays.
Hey mate, did you edit that into your comment or did I just miss it the first time? Because I upvoted you since I agree with the not mutual exclusive/harder to pull off thing, but no need to be crass like that. It doesn't help further the position we generally agree on, and clouds the discussion. tpt is a smart and good commentor anyways, even though we disagree some times - it's totally unnecessary to be crass with him like that.
it is likely the case that rqmt #1 -- that is, the creation of at least 5 full-time jobs in the US -- will easily be met by most entrepreneurs if they have any shred of competence and/or economic viability.
the rest of your argument is perhaps interesting from a theoretical standpoint, but not likely very relevant from a practical perspective.
it's very simple: create 5 full-time jobs in the US in 2 years time, and you get to stay. if you can't do that, at least get to break-even on $1M in revenue. if you can't do THAT, then find an investor willing to back you for another $1M every 2 years.
the rqmts are quite lenient and reasonable. the fate of the entrepreneur is very much in their own hands (& heads).
Yes, it's acceptable to create 5 minimum wage jobs. In other words, if you are sponsored by an appropriate financier, you can obtain permanent residency for approximately $100,000 per year over 3 years.
again you're missing the point of the investor participation in this equation -- it's unlikely that accredited investors and venture capitalists would risk time, capital, reputation, and criminal penalty to perpetrate such a pointless exercise.
while it's possible, it's not very likely.
we did not draft legislation to cover all possible edge cases, but rather to reasonably address common scenarios.
That's great. We should let anyone who can create 5 jobs into the country, regardless of whether a clique of financiers will "sponsor" them. We should let them in regardless of whether they wear pants.
obviously we've let you into HN comments, & you're doing the equivalent of not wearing any intellectual pants... ;)
why are you quoting "sponsor"? why use "clique"? you're just trying to use specific questionable punctuation to indict a broad group of people w/o any real analysis of why their motives or ethics are in question.
job creation is likely to be a good thing. if you have specific solutions / suggestions on better ways to measure job creation effectiveness, please state them.
again, happy to argue about these topics rather than you simply ripping on the general proposal. at least we can get to constructive criticism, rather than whether you or anyone else aren't wearing pants.
I think you misinterpreted my "pants" comment. My point is, if you can create 5 jobs in the US, you shouldn't need anything, except perhaps a clean criminal record, to get a visa. You certainly shouldn't need the "sponsorship" of a "super angel investor".
Please stop taking this so personally. I'm not. How could I? I have no idea who you are.
This is a bill that proposes to give US venture capitalists the overt ability to terminate the residency status of founders and their families.
US employers already have this power over employees that hold visas. Why do you trust employers but not VCs? (Or put another one, there is potential for abuse in either arrangement, but I'm not convinced that VCs are fundamentally worse than employers.)
Perhaps not -- but if we're debating a realistic change to the visa system, an argument that begins with rejecting the basic principle under which most visas operate seems pretty impractical.
Adding yet another class of people with unfair power over immigrants, and yet another distortion to the market, seems like a very poor response to that problem.
According to what standard would this give VCs "unfair" power over immigrants?
As for "distorting the market", any substantial change to the visa system would distort the market in one way or another. The practical question is whether the startup visa improves the situation, not whether it is the globally optimal immigration policy.
I'm no better than this in most HN arguments but will hypocritically observe that you opt out of reasonable debate about immigration policy when you imply that your opponents are South Park caricatures.
Yeah, but your objection makes no sense and is probably rooted (apologies, and read this in a courteous tone) in the fact that you saw Kerry's name and had a gut reaction + ipso facto (FYI, Lugar's a republican).
The legislation proposed moves us from "no way, no how" to "imperfect system" -- if you're primarily for relaxing immigration policies for professionals, you should support the bill in principle, favor it over nothing, and probably have quibbles. This bill would mean more professional immigration for the purpose of starting companies -- along with the requisite amount of BS, hassle, unfair playing field etc that apply to all visa situations as things stand now.
I canvassed Toledo for Kerry in '04. I got chased off someone's property for knocking on a door doing GOTV for ACT without noticing that the guy was flying a Confederate Flag. I donate to liberal political causes. I'm not just liberal: I'm a Democrat.
You're doing your argument a disservice by engaging with personalities (rightly or, here, wrongly) instead of ideas.
This isn't a personal criticism, because I demonstrably don't occupy the high ground on this point on HN. But you may want to be aware of it.
Well, I suppose I'm just massively misunderstanding your objection here.
It seems that we share the goal of increased immigration of professionals and enabling them to succeed in america, shared prosperity and all of that..
This bill, to me, is incremental progress towards that goal but flawed on some specifics.. do you agree?
Is your opposition a case of "not good enough and hold out for better"? The specifics about VCs controlling the visa are the deal-breaker for you? How is that so much worse than H-1B where the employer controls the visa?
Honest questions, I really don't understand the argument.
Well, they need to have some sort of criteria to prevent gaming the system. I think we'd both agree that you can't open the floodgates by investing $1 each in 50 paper businesses in order to get 50 visas.