Immigration Reform
4:53 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Hi-Tech Entrepreneurs

An amendment proposed by U.S. Senator Mark Warner to the immigration-reform bill is languishing in the Senate even as the legislation moves closer to passage. 

The amendment would enable more highly skilled, foreign-born college graduates and entrepreneurs in science and technology to start businesses in the U.S. 

Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports that as China, India, and other nations make gains to close their economic gaps with the U.S., Warner believes his plan is more imperative than ever.

Warner says the U.S. educates thousands of foreign students who leave and compete against American businesses. The same is true of highly skilled but temporary foreign workers.

“This is a worldwide competition for talent.  And we need to make sure that the job-creators—the people who’ve got that idea, that can raise some money—they have a choice to do it anywhere.  I want folks who’ve got those skills to have that opportunity to do it in America," he says.

Warner says this is actually an American jobs measure. Among other provisions, his amendment would double the number of available green cards if it’s found that the program is economically beneficial and effective in creating new businesses. He adds that startup companies have created most of the jobs in recent years.  

“Right now, if you’re not American-born, you can’t start that business here. You may have to go back to another country or go to Canada, which has changed their immigration rules to be more welcoming to these start-ups. This bill says if you can show that you can go out and raise a couple hundred thousand dollars and hire Americans, we’re going to let you do that here.”

Even if the amendment stalls, Warner has introduced a separate, similar bill called the Startup Act 2.0.