Immigration is the lifeblood of the U.S., but also a thorny problem of late…and one that some say is aggravated by abuse of the H1-B visiting skilled worker visa. Is it time to consider a new system, one that rewards entrepreneurs instead?
Brad wrote about the idea a while ago, even going as far as alerting a number of congressmen to the scheme’s potential–one of whom has recently displayed much interest in the plan. The reason it’s become relevant again is, of course, the continuing economic slump. This has seen some predictable and bizarre knock-on effects, including decreased venture capital activity and an apparently xenophobic stance by a senator over Microsoft’s recession-driven job-cuts–this last issue being linked, apparently, to the H1-B visa issue.
There’s no naivety towards potential abuses, either, since the program would have a number of built-in protections. A non-government board of credible investors and entrepreneurs would sift the applicants for truly viable business plans, and anyone wishing to be declared a “Founder” should own at least 10% of a company. That company should also already have a minimum level of funding in place. If a company fails, the Founder will have a limited time within which to create a new enterprise, or risk losing the visa.