The highlights of the act, which include many of the suggestions in this thread-
1 - Create a new STEM visa so that U.S.-educated foreign students who graduate with a master’s or Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering or mathematics can receive a green card and stay in this country where their talent and ideas can fuel growth and create American jobs.
2 - Establish an Entrepreneur’s Visa for legal immigrants so they can remain in the United States, launch businesses and create jobs, and eliminates the per-country caps for employment-based immigrant visas, which hinders U.S. employers from recruiting the top-tier talent they need to grow.
3 - Make permanent the exemption of capital gains taxes on the sale of startup stock held for at least five years, so investors can provide financial stability at a critical juncture of firm growth.
4 - Create a targeted research and development tax credit for young startups less than five years old and with less than $5 million in annual receipts. This R&D credit is designed to allow startups to offset employee taxes, freeing up resources to help these young companies expand and create jobs.
5 - Use existing federal R&D funding to better support university initiatives designed to bring cutting-edge R&D to the marketplace more quickly, where it can propel economic growth.
Require government agencies to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of proposed “major rules” with an economic impact of $100 million or more.
6 - Direct the U.S. Department of Commerce to assess state and local policies that aid in the development of new businesses.
The intention is to increase capital available to startups because of the extra tax incentive for investors.
Could a person invest in multiple ventures, reap the rewards, and not pay taxes on a large amount of income. Yes, and it does seem unfair, but people are being employed; businesses are being built; and that money is being spent. We need to think about the overall goals of the system as opposed to "fairness" at each point.
 there are many articles - for a math heavy one: http://www.mpls.frb.org/research/qr/qr2331.pdf
I would take economic stability over growth any day. It is commonly accepted that taxes prevent the overheating of an economy by absorbing capital that would otherwise be directed towards superfluous investments.
Additionally, taxes are a necessary evil. We need to fund our government and denying that is irresponsible. I would much prefer a government that tries to be fair with it's system of taxation than a government that uses it's taxation system to support the interests of a small minority of the population. (And one could argue that we are already faced with the later of the two situations, at least in the U.S.)
If entrepreneurs and investors are truly the white knights of our economy, then I highly doubt that they really need much help from the government. The only true and reliable path to out-sized wealth is through investment, and that will never change regardless of taxation. I don't blame them for arguing for a system that benefits their bottom line, but one needs to look at the larger social good when making decisions of this sort and come to a solution that balances the interests of all stake holders.
I am concerned at what points we tax, and eating the seed corn is not a good thing. We need capital to fund business creation and expansion. Fairness is secondary to people being able to find jobs and having opportunity. Our tax system is so badly screwed up because everyone needs their exception or rule as opposed to looking at where we need to tax and how to make it simple and sustainable.
"I would take economic stability over growth any day. It is commonly accepted that taxes prevent the overheating of an economy by absorbing capital that would otherwise be directed towards superfluous investments."
I would need to see some information on this, as it makes some rather large assumptions about the government's use of the money.
Generally, I am of the opinion that as we make significant gains and improvements in efficiency, productivity, and technology the number of jobs created for each dollar directed towards investment and business creation will significantly shrink. This will make it difficult to achieve wide-spread prosperity by encouraging investment, as the wealth will increasingly be concentrated at the top (we are already seeing this happen). More likely, we will have to transition to a post-labor economy (there are a few random discussions about this on the internet, but as far as I can tell this is a fairly new idea). Unfortunately for those that lean on the libertarian side, a stable and successful post-labor economy involves high taxes and large social programs (of course this assumes that we can even attempt to make this transition).
Sorry, kinda went off on a tangent, but I think this idea is very relevant to any discussion regarding our approach to economic recovery. It may be a few decades or so before it is relevant, but this transition has been happening for quite some time (when was the last time you withdrew cash from a bank teller, or sent a letter through snail mail, etc).
You can't go taxing the rich - this is still America
I know a ton of entrepreneurial Indian, Chinese immigrants with advanced degrees (MS/PhDs) from MIT, Stanford, UW etc who are sick and tired of waiting years for their GC (average of 5-7 years wait), so they are not tied to the fate of the employer for their stay in US. Imagine, freeing them for these visa shackles, so they are free to pursue their own ventures, without have to worry about getting kicked out of this country
I got the E-2 visa based on my first company I started and by the time I applied we already had paying customers and orders. I expedited my application and the approval for E-2 came in exactly 15 days.
So its not undoable if you can muster up some money from outside the US. However, if you can only raise from inside the US you are hugely disadvantaged. The other hack to this would be to form a company and apply for an H-1 based on the company, which is hard to get. Once you are on H-1 you can apply for a green card after a certain time period (I think it is 5 years or so but not sure)
How quickly/successful you are with your GC application depends on whether you can qualify for EB2 or have to go through EB3. EB3 is backed up for years. EB2 is current (therefore around 12 months wait) if you are not from india and china but you need to have a masters or 5 years of provable experience (letters from previous employers) in an area that the petitioning company cannot find an American will the same skills.
The E-2 can be a bit of a trap IMHO. If your business fails or you sell it, you have to leave the US. This might seem reasonable until you consider someone might run a small company for years, build a family, settle, and then have to leave because of economic downturn or because they sell their company. I don't know how easy it would be for someone to move from owning/running a company under E-2 to H1B employee of a new owner.
tl;dr? There is no clear path from E-2 to green card.
Ironically, I + C are the biggest source of skilled tech labor, as evidenced by the 5+ year EB2/EB3 waiting period.
As far as skilled tech labor goes, that is more of an H-1B cap issue, which the US should increase. Ironically, in 2007-08 when they were about to increase it, the great recession hit and not enough people applied to it. As such, they never got around to increasing it to the substantial number that they should
When I did it as a high-priority application, I got an initial response saying "we need more data" within 2-3 weeks (from what I remember), then the final approval 2-3 weeks after I submitted that info.
I looked into it a couple of years ago and was told by a lawyer "substantial" means around 500k.
If (and this is a big if) an entrepreneur gets a visa and hires 1 more person, then it's a good trade from an employment angle.
On top of that, current domestic unemployment statistics are incomplete by just looking at the U-6 number. For programmers and other STEM fields, there is a labor shortage. For workers unemployed from industries generated from the credit bubble, their jobs are unlikely to come back.
And the main barrier to VC money moving to different countries is lack of experience in the area and field.
I suppose there's a prime rib-eye steak shortage. I'm willing to pay $1 for a steak!!! But nobody wants to supply me with it. But if I raise my price to $12, then suddenly I can find many suppliers. Is there a rib-eye steak shortage?
So many "STEM" types work in places like Manhattan, Silicon Valley, Boston, etc. These are high cost of living areas and careers can be very short. $80/K a year can not buy a house. Perhaps the industry's solution is working better with local labor. Henry Ford did it when paid his workers and "outrageous" $5/day. The well paid workers could afford things, like the Ford cars they were making.
Bill Gates and Tim Cook can afford it. So can Sand Hill Road.
Pay the going rate.
If American needs more "venture", invest in American Moms and Dads and they'll do great things.
It's one thing for a country to have a visa category, but it's another to actually qualify for one.
When I read this: "New Zealand has no specific capital requirement but offers residency to entrepreneurs whose firms are deemed to benefit the country."
I wondered how broad "benefit to the country" is interpreted.
There is a lot of demand for living and working in the United States. The United States enjoys net immigration with respect to almost all other countries in the world, and has throughout my lifetime. There are definitely other countries that value entrepreneurs and that offer prosperity, personal security, and freedom and democracy to would-be immigrants. But each time the issue of immigration policy comes up on Hacker News--and it comes up a lot--the dozens of comments make clear that many, many, many smart, diligent people would be glad to settle in the United States, if only they could, and so all the existing channels for legal immigration to the United States are well used. Many of those channels bring in founders of new thriving businesses.
So the policy issue to consider in United States politics, for an American voter like me who reads the interesting article kindly submitted here, or an article from today's local press,
is how much I think the United States is missing out on entrepreneurs who desire to immigrate to the United States soon rather than go to some other country. Surely such people exist. But surely (undeniably) each year the United States already enjoys large numbers of immigrants,
and many of the immigrants who arrive here start up businesses once they arrive. Perhaps the United States is already doing enough. It would be interesting to hear from readers here whether they have ever seriously considered settling in Singapore, Britain, New Zealand, or Chile under the currently offered policies in those countries.
AFTER EDIT: And I see (from net downvotes soon after posting) I'm already swimming against the usual tide here of most HN participants supporting the United States having an entrepreneur visa on easy terms: perhaps terms easy enough for them and for their friends to use. That's a legitimate opinion. I'm happy to learn from you. Please explain why you think that is a necessarily better policy for the United States than the current United States policy. Learning to persuade is part of political life here.
Long-term it's absolutely not enough. The fundamental socioeconomic feature of 21st century will be the competition between the US system and China's massive population for global economic dominance.
The US population is ~300 million, China's is ~1.2 billion, 4x our size. For every engineer, scientist, genius, etc in the US, there are ~4 in China. Over the long term the US has no hope whatsoever of competing against that without significant structural changes.
Those structural changes include fixing our educational system, fighting tooth and nail for skilled immigrants, offering them better incentives to stay rather than return home to fast growing developing economies to make their fortunes, fixing the broken financial and patent/IP systems, etc.
Judge Posner sums up our shortfalls well in a recent blog post . The US system will need to be operating at an order of magnitude greater efficiency than it currently is to have any hope of overcoming China's massive numbers advantage. Immigration is one of the few crucial advantages the US can exploit in that competition, but right now we're shooting ourselves in the foot so hard there we're blowing our leg off.
Does that matter? Not really. "US" and "China" are ultimately just arbitrary labels.
It's a country's government and legal system, combined with its human resources (both aptitude and education), that dictate whether its population will be an asset or liability. Hence my focus on their human resources' massive numbers advantage
just had to throw that one in there... j/k
The USA is in trouble when the smart 'ethnic' students can all get into law school/MBA programs instead of being forced into STEM.
The US is ranked just 31 in the world for net migration rate: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/imm_net_mig_rat-immigratio....
Secondly, even by your metric, the U.S. is pretty high up. Of the 30 above it on that list, many are microstates, which makes per-capita statistics fairly wonky (some individual American cities would be that high, too, if they counted separately as microstates). And, many aren't even countries at all (e.g. French Guiana, or the Northern Mariana Islands... a 50,000-person U.S. territory). If we ignore those, then things look quite a bit different; the U.S. ends up #15 among independent non-microstates. And a lot of those are places you don't really want to move to if you have a choice, e.g. Burundi ranks highly because of regional wars and refugee camps. Among the US's peer group of non-micro developed nations, it's #6, behind Singapore, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and Portugal.
If you are a politician you want more warm bodies from $ETHNIC GROUP$ in a certain voting area who are grateful that you let their grandmother in.
The very essence of the United States rests on both economic and migratory freedom, so issues that combine both (immigration of entrepreneurs) form a touchpoint that highlight the higher standards to which America is held.
Spoken as a deported Canadian entrepreneur.
Half the envelopes contain no money. Half of the other envelopes contain a one dollar bill. Half of the remaining contains a five dollar bill. The rest a ten dollar bill.
Why don't you take all the envelopes?
Immigrants might create social pressure until they're fully integrated, some don't know the language, and some are more likely to commit crimes or cost the state money upon deportation procedures. In Switzerland, almost three out of four detainees nationwide are foreigners (citation: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_news/Experts_reflect_on_sp... ).
I do think you can mitigate this by making people pull their own fees when the visa is granted, not only all the cost of the actual administrative procedures but also a median insurance fee for future detention and deportation costs broken down via a statistical model. But even then you have side-effects, like a sudden increase in San Francisco population, increased rents for housing, gentrification of neighborhoods ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentrification ), displacement of people that otherwise have lived their entire life in that area, and less opportunities for US nationals given the foreigner's competition.
Despite this, I still think that US should allow more immigrants, that the bar is currently set too high and that in the future we'll be able to make more progress towards the idealistic "Earth: one country one nation" slogan, but it's not as simple as taking all the envelopes.
Surely that's the whole point of the immigration process, to weed out the applicants that fall into these categories... Canada and Australia both require you to prove English language ability (via IELTS test). Background check people's criminal past etc etc
I very much like Australia's immigration process, which requires independent verification of a person's skills, they have a specific skills shortage list (updated regularly) and you have to agree to respect Australia's culture and values. You want to live here then you adapt, not the other way round. I think this is the problem with too many places at the moment.
I think gentrification of neighbourhoods and displacement is happening regardless of the fact of immigration, it's the result of an aging population alongside the increase in population in general.
Further, anybody who wants in to the US will simply call themselves and 'entrepreneur' regardless of their skill, experience, and capital necessary to start a successful business. For instance if someone is dying because of substandard medical care in their own country and only wants treatment in a US emergency room they would just declare themselves an 'entrepreneur'.
but agree with your sentiments that that's how it should work in an ideal and fair world.
Not sure if I was dying then I would want to rake up such a HUGE bill and move to US for medical treatment, unless I was super rich in which case this would never be an issue...
If our arbitrary metric is economic productivity, we can see that having a large population of Sergey Brins, Vinod Khoslas, etc. is beneficial to US citizens even if Americans may not have a tea party resettling in Russia or India.
EDIT: if you think that the US government should support foreign entrepreneurs over US citizens you need to explain why instead of downvoting.
It the US wants to support US citizens, it would let more people start businesses. More businesses = more jobs.
The individual exists for the support and enjoyment of the state.
The state exists solely to facilitate the individual's pursuit of happiness.
Agreed. I do not think that is the point of argument here. US overall has huge number of immigrants every year. The problem however is how they determine the eligibility. Family based permanent residency is much easier to get if your spouse is a US citizen no matter what your qualifications are. That is understood considering families need to be united. But why are the programs such as EB-5 investor visa so poorly designed ? If majority of those visas are going unused every year, why dont we instead try and correct it so that it makes it a little easier for aspiring foreign entrepreneurs to apply. Do we really need $1M to start a business these days ?
The EB-5 requires the investor to create or preserve 10 US citizen jobs within 2 years. Ballpark a median salary of $50K for each of those employees and double that number to account for non-salary costs of employing someone (employer paid taxes, healthcare, office space, etc).
There's a million dollars spent in the first year.
Also US residency and citizenship is such not a wonderful asset. I for one would never want citizenship because it means that you now have to pay taxes on your worldwide income, even if you do not live in the US.
So if you earn $1000 per year and you live in a developing country, the right to live in the US is very valuable. If you earn $100k per year or higher the right to live in the US or to get US citizenship becomes a lot less interesting.
This creates a virtuous spiral where the money is there so the tech people go there, so you start a company there because there are people there, so the VCs go there.
There are very few other centers so concentrated, Cambridge, Berlin, Waterloo are 1% the size.
But eventually some VCs will take the risk of a flight to Chile or Singapore - especially new Indian/Chinese money - and gradually the pre-eminence of silicon valley will decrease
I believe, if someone has the the capital (or guarantee of capital) backing for starting a company and they want to do so in the US, the process should be very simple (beyond requisite background checks, etc). If you want to build, please come.
Visas for "higher education", I would willingly grant extended stay Visas for those completing PhDs but would put a slightly higher barrier on those getting Masters. Why? Two-fold (the second I will address below). My biggest issue is, especially here in California (for what I know), the UC system is hurting and embracing out of state (and out of country) applicants for the added tuition. And, for CS related degrees a Masters really generally just a one year degree. I would like to see more than just the one-year degree before granting an extended visa more easily than the existing visa paths.
My second problem with granting Visas to Master's students and this applies in general to my problem with visas for technical jobs, is the currently large unemployed base. My problem is not with those wishing to come here and contribute, but with the system itself. And, on some level, I am complicit in this.
The US has a very large un/underemployed base, even within tech. Companies argue that they can't hire enough qualified people, but the reality in a lot of cases is either: 1) the companies aren't willing to pay for the qualifications (the controversial path); or 2) companies aren't willing to train to fill in a potentially qualified candidate's gaps.
There are people out there that would be decent DevOps, SysAdmins, or even developers...but when a company posts for a position, they want the closest fit to that position. If someone might be an Ok fit over time, but would require investment in terms of training and time, the company will bypass them (in most cases).
For me, there is this gaping hole that this country needs to address -- we need to provide the ability to retool those seeking jobs to better fit current openings. The US and it's approach to "private enterprise" sucks at this. I know people that have gone to these fly by night "learn new skills" areas only to end up more in debt, still un/underemployed and not contributing to society as well as they might. Even in the case where people are trying (and not giving up).
I am probably rambling here, but I think Startup 2.0 is a step in the right direction, but I wish the US would do more to encourage the development and reeducation of local talent. Our current system of falling into the cracks or mortgaging ourselves further to sketchy private "learn X" institutions is doing us no good.
Second, the idea of innovators from outside boosting the US economy looks bogus to me.
Third, why can't these "foreign entrepreneurs" could do all that they want to do in their own country first, and then do some partnerships with people in the US, so nobody immigrates no where and both parties benefit.
Guys, see link below for latest H1B/Green Card Filings by US employers along with Salary trends
It has the exhaustive database of 600k companies.
Try to catch the latest reports as welll which is very helpful. Help all your friends - this is a must see info for everyone to check if your company is paying you right and what are the latest jobs for these visa sponsoring companies.
For example this is the city wise report for 2012, this way you can check state,city,job