Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Visa for Job Creators

Spurning immigrant entrepreneurs makes no economic sense

The immigration debate has devolved into a shouting match over allegations of "amnesty" and anti-Hispanic bias, but cooler heads need to keep in mind the economic benefits of attracting human capital to America. Consider the barriers we now put on immigrant entrepreneurs.

Start-ups are responsible for most net new jobs in the U.S., and immigrants are almost 30% more likely than non-immigrants to start a business. None of this is news to economists, writes Stuart Anderson of the National Foundation for America Policy in a new paper, but a focus on start-ups "is largely non-existent in the current policy debate over jobs and the economy, most of which centers on how to encourage existing firms to hire more employees."

The U.S. created an immigrant investor visa category (EB-5) in 1990, but steep minimum capital requirements put it out of reach for most potential recipients. The average start-up company in the U.S. begins with about $31,000. Yet to become eligible for an EB-5 visa, an individual must invest at least $500,000. It's no wonder that fewer than 3,700 people received EB-5 visas last year—including spouses and children—and most of them went to immigrant investors looking to expand existing U.S. ventures, not create new businesses.

Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Richard Lugar of Indiana have introduced legislation that would award a conditional green card to immigrant entrepreneurs who receive at least $250,000 from a U.S. venture capitalist. The immigrant would receive permanent residence status if the enterprise employed at least five workers or reached $1 million in revenue within a year. This would improve the status quo, but the capital requirements would still remain needlessly high. In retail and manufacturing, for example, start-up costs average $98,000 and $175,000, respectively.

Mr. Anderson, a former Immigration and Naturalization Service official, says the U.S. would do better to discard capital requirements and welcome any foreign national who can present a business plan that passes muster with the Small Business Administration. As with the EB-5 visa, the individual would receive a green card only if the business created a certain number of jobs for U.S. workers within a set period of time.

"There's already a pool of individuals inside the country who could stay and start companies but are blocked either because they are international students who cannot get an H-1B visa, or scientists and engineers forced to wait 12 years or more if they want a green card," said Mr. Anderson in an interview. "Isn't it better to have the next generation of products and businesses created in the United States?"

Lowering U.S. barriers for foreign-born entrepreneurs can only help the economy. It would also help President Obama begin to fulfill his campaign pledge to address immigration reform. Republicans who claim to know something about job creation should welcome an opportunity to support a pro-growth immigration fix that doesn't involve "amnesty." A visa for job creators is a political and economic winner all around.


135,000 ILLEGALS in Britain TOLD 'YOU CAN STAY'

THOUSANDS of failed asylum seekers will be allowed to stay in Britain to help clear Labour’s massive backlog. More than 135,000 will be told they can remain, with 100,000 cases still ongoing.

Coalition ministers were horrified when they realised the true scale of the problem.

Officials have dealt with two thirds of the 450,000 cases by granting permanent residency to around 2,000 failed applicants each week. Only 35,000 were sent home after assessment, with critics claiming officials have been granting amnesty through the backdoor.

There are fears many cases are being rubber-stamped without proper checks, despite inspectors originally saying the individuals should have been deported. But the Home Office is worried it could face legal challenges under the human rights acts because so many of the cases date back years.

Once applicants have been given indefinite leave to remain, they are one step away from British citizenship which then allows them to claim benefits.

Migrationwatch chairman Sir Andrew Green, 69, said: “This is an appalling legacy from the previous Government and its impact will be to encourage more bogus asylum seekers.”

A spokesman for UK Border Agency said: “All ‘legacy’ cases are considered on their individual merits and we are confident that we will conclude the backlog by summer 2011. “The majority of asylum applications are now being concluded within six months.”


A businessman who was raised, schooled, married and got his first job in the UK has been told he can’t live here as he’s not “British”, writes Bill Martin. US-born Stephen Hewitt, 50, can trace his Brit ancestry back to 1410.

His first wife is English and eldest daughter Pamela was born here. Now he wants full residency – but an immigration tribunal turned him down because his UK ties are “not strong enough”.

He said: “I’m bitter. I’m not asking for any special circumstances. My family has a long history in England.”

The Borders Agency declined to comment.


1 comment:

  1. Setting a higher amount an immigrant investor needs to bring as compared to the average needed to start a company makes sense.
    That amount includes the money the person needs to set up his household and to provide for himself until he can get income from his new business.

    If few people use the plan, that's in part because it's little known, in part because of the murderous US capital gains and other taxes, in part because people ever more see the US as unfriendly to foreigners in general, and in part because the economy is in a slump.