Spearheaded by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a group of six senators introduced a fourth attempt at the Startup Act (S.181). The Startup Act would provide immigrant entrepreneurs who create new jobs access to a specifically designated visa. The bill would also create new visas for foreign degree recipients in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields
Under the Act, 75,000 visas would be created to allow foreign nationals to start and attempt to grow businesses in the United States. The visas would eventually allow the entrepreneurs to seek permanent residency if investment and hiring benchmarks are met. The visas could be revoked within a four-year period if the individuals no longer meet the criteria for investment and hiring.
The Startup Act would also create 50,000 visas for foreign students graduating from U.S. universities with degrees in the STEM fields. This visa category would be a separate and distinct category from the current options available to STEM graduates. STEM graduates are presently limited to 29 months of post-degree employment in their field or must seek alternative non-immigrant visa employment, normally through filing H-1B visa petitions.
The Startup Act would also make minor modifications in the tax code and regulatory system. The bill would create a permanent capital gains tax exemption for startup companies, and create tax credits for small companies with less than $5 million in annual receipts.
This is the fourth attempt at a bill similar to the Startup Act; its immediate predecessor was known as Startup Act 3.0. (We discussed these previous attempts on our blogs in March 2010, November 2012, and February 2013). The bill follows a proposed Act introduced by Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to increase H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,000. (See our coverage of January 2013). Startup Act 4.0’s (S. 181) is co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).