A January 25 report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Immigrant Policy Center has indicated that it’s time for the U.S. to ease up on current restrictions on immigrants who plan to open businesses in the U.S., and to instead create and implement a separate visa program for these potential entrepreneurs. The report effectively states that immigrant entrepreneurs both create jobs on a local level and strengthen the economy—and in fact, it credits foreign entrepreneurs as significant contributors to small business job creation, a potential contribution that needs to be capitalized on. By opening up opportunities for foreign talent to work and do business in the United States, federal policy makers can take another step toward creating an entrepreneur-friendly culture that fosters business growth.
Current immigration laws make it difficult for foreign entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. and establish small businesses, thereby contributing to the nation’s growth. The Chamber of Commerce recommends instead that the Department of Homeland Security create more business-friendly policies and cut the red tape, making it substantially easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to make the move. Other proposals include seeding and promoting entrepreneurship programs, creating the separate visa category mentioned above, and easing the process by which foreign students with desirable skills are able to come to the U.S. to study and remain here after graduation.
This latest report follows a late November House vote (The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2011) that ended per-country caps of worker-based immigration visa. As the law stood before the vote, no country could receive more than 7% of the total employment-based immigration visas—a cap meant to ensure diversity but that inadvertently made it difficult for American technology firms to hire workers from big countries like India and China.
Abrams, Jim. “House Votes to End Country Limits for Work Visas, Could Allow Immigrants to Stay Longer.” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.” 11/30/11. (11/30/11). http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2011-11-30/house-votes-end-country-limits-work-visas-could-allow-immigrants-stay-longer#.TylxAm87WAg.
McQuillen, William. “Eased Immigration Laws May Spur Growth, U.S. Chamber Report Says.” Bloomberg Businessweek. 1/25/12. (1/30/12). http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-30/eased-immigration-laws-may-spur-growth-u-s-chamber-report-says.html.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “U.S. Chamber and IPC Release Report on Critical Role of Immigrant Entrepreneurs to the U.S. Economy.” 1/25/12. (1/25/12). http://www.uschamber.com/press/releases/2012/january/us-chamber-and-ipc-release-report-critical-role-immigrant-entrepreneurs-.