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U.S. Immigration Policy Hurting Entrepreneurship

by JP Sarmiento on January 14, 2013

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Forbes recently had an opinion article by Bill Aulet and Matt Marx addressing how  US Immigration Policy is hurting entrepreneurship. The article was based on their thoughts on their students in MIT, one of the premier universities in the world. They in particular drew from what they saw from the opportunities or lack thereof for the international students.

In their entrepreneurship class at MIT, many of the students are international, and they need theU.S.government’s permission to work in the country. They will be left with two options; leave theUnited Statesand build their company back in their home country or look for a company who can sponsor them to get a shot at an H-1B visa. These options will not allow these students to start their own company in theUnited States.

Although Bill and Matt believe that these non-U.S. citizen students may hope to get their visa extended for “optional practical training”, the chances of them getting their H-1B visa so they can start their company to grow big enough to be recognized as a legitimate enterprise are not that great.  They have to work for someone first, and they can only hope that the employer who hires them would eventually petition them not just for an H-1B visa, but eventually also for their green card. Should they get their green card later on and quit the company after at least 6 months, only then can they start their business. That whole process, from graduation to eventually putting up a business, could take over 6 years.

Bill Aulet and Matter Marx pointed out that not all innovation-driven entrepreneurs are born American citizens. There are students, like those at MIT, who are potential drivers for economic prosperity and can create more job opportunities in the country. But the current immigration policy is hurting the chances of these promising, non-U.S. citizens.

USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas addressed a group of MIT students and promised to aid entrepreneurs as much as possible even with the existing strict immigration laws and policies.

Bill Aulet and Matt Marx believe that it would help the USCIS to aid foreign entrepreneurs if they consider three things; consider the potential of immigrants to build companies and job opportunities, appreciate their talents, and understand the advantages of startups on how they move fast and more responsively to economic challenges.



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