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Debate continues on startup visas that could encourage immigrant business formation

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Earlier this week, Senators John Kerry and Richard Luger – the two ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – formally proposed legislation to create a Startup Visa, according to the Industry Standard.This is not the first time the new visa has been discussed among legislators; back in January, Congress began its debate over the bill which would help “foreigners with good ideas” stay in America and start companies to help rebuild the U.S. economy.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the bill allows immigrant entrepreneurs looking to embark on ventures of all business types to stay in the U.S. if they can obtain $100,000 from a sponsoring angel investor or at least $250,000 from a venture capital firm. The proposed legislation also says that a startup would need to generate five new jobs and $1 million in revenue within two years.

These parameters are much looser than current legislation in which immigrants who undergo business formation are required to invest at least $1 million and create 10 full-time jobs.

While supporters of the bill are hopeful since a reported 0.1 percent of all legislative ideas make it this far in Congress, the Industry Standard points out that only 1 percent of bills that get this far actually turn into laws.

If the legislation does pass, entrepreneurs might find their ranks growing and business formation increasing this year.