The Office of Science and Technology Policy (“OSTP”) highlighted the need for immigration reform in a recently published blog post. Over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies, including GE, Ford, Yahoo and Google, were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants. According to the OSTP, the recently passed bipartisan Senate bill would enact some of the President’s key priorities for retaining the skilled workers.
Specifically, the bill would remove visa caps for immigrants with a PhD or Master’s degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (“STEM”). A recent article from Forbes.com highlighted the continuing need for STEM graduates. The median pay for STEM graduates with less than three years of work experience was $88,700. However, STEM jobs remain unfilled because of the lack of qualified candidates.
The Senate bill would also create a new startup visa for Immigrant Entrepreneurs. Qualified Entrepreneurs would have to invest no less than $100,000 in a U.S. business, create no fewer than three jobs and generate at least $250,000 in annual revenue from business conducted in the United States. A “Qualified Entrepreneur” would be an individual who has a significant ownership interest in a U.S. business entity, is employed in a senior executive position of that U.S. business entity, submits a business plan to USCIS and has a substantial role in the founding or early stage development of such entity.
Additionally, the bill would eliminate the existing backlogs for employment-based visas. This change would permanently expand the availability of visa numbers for high-skilled workers by exempting relatives of these skilled workers from the annual cap. These are important, necessary and critical changes to our broken immigration system. All eyes are now focused on the House to see if these important immigration reform steps will be passed into law and how the new bill would impact the EB-5 program.