Thursday, December 03, 2009

Start-up Visas Can Jump-Start the Economy

We all know that companies like Google, Intel, and Yahoo are revenue-making machines in the United States. However, you may be surprised to learn that immigrants started all of the aforementioned companies. Paul Kedrosky and Brad Feld recently published an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal explaining how start-up Visa’s may be the secret to improving the United State economy. Check out a snippet below, or you can find the full text at

While fast-growing companies have long been the main source of new jobs and innovation, this country makes it outrageously difficult for immigrants to launch new companies here. This doesn't make any sense. After all, Google, Pfizer, Intel, Yahoo, DuPont, eBay and Procter & Gamble are all former start-ups founded by immigrants. Where would this country be today without their world-changing innovations?

Immigrants have not only founded big, well-known companies. Foreign-born residents made up just 12.5% of the U.S. population in 2008. But nearly 40% of technology company founders and 52% of founders of companies in Silicon Valley.

Yet we don't seem to care. We send recent, foreign-born university science and engineering graduates back to their own countries after their student visas expire—unless these creative sorts are willing to spend some of the most entrepreneurial years of their lives working in a big company under an H-1B visa after they finish their studies.

For those who studied elsewhere, but who nonetheless want to bring their job-creating ideas here, American policies treat them—the job-creating, trouble-making innovators that they are—as a cross between deadbeats and queue-jumpers. Why can't they wait in line like everyone else to get a visa in five years or so? What's their hurry?

Their hurry is Joseph Schumpeter's hurry: They want to hustle out and disrupt markets when the opportunity arises.

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