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US immigration reforms to give fillip to Indian start-ups

Last updated on: April 17, 2013 11:18 IST

US immigration reforms to give fillip to Indian start-ups

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Bibhu Ranjan Mishra in Bangalore

Even as the proposed Comprehensive Visa Reforms Bill threatens to cast a shadow over the Indian IT services industry, it could give a fillip to start-up artists dreaming of making it big in the US.

The Bill, when introduced, is expected to include the ambitious immigrant start-up visa proposal, which aims at attracting bright and entrepreneurial immigrants to the US.

Dubbed as Startup Act 3.0, the legislation would also enable such immigrant entrepreneurs by giving them permanent residency upon meeting certain requirements.

By doing so, the US will the second country to introduce a start-up policy to attract immigrant entrepreneurs. On April 1, Canada launched a Startup Visa programme to attract foreign entrepreneurs.

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Photographs: Reuters.

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By doing so, the US will the second country in North America to introduce a start-up policy to attract immigrant entrepreneurs.

On April 1, Canada launched a Startup Visa programme to attract foreign entrepreneurs.

Immigrant entrepreneurs, mostly led by Indians, are quite deep-rooted in the US economy and have contributed to both the economic development of the country and job creation.

According a study by Kauffman Foundation in October 2012, about 33.2 per cent of the co-founders of engineering and technology companies incorporated in the US during the last six years were Indians.

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Photographs: Reuters.

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US immigration reforms to give fillip to Indian start-ups

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The same report, however, had found that the proportion of immigrant-founded companies in the US had slipped to 24.3 per cent from 25.3 per cent in 2005.

The drop was even more visible in the Silicon Valley, where the percentage of immigrant-founded start-ups declined from 52.4 per cent to 43.9 per cent in 2012.

According to a whitepaper, the 'entrepreneur visa' has the potential to add between 500,000 and 1.6 million new jobs in the US over the next 10 years.

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Photographs: Reuters.

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US immigration reforms to give fillip to Indian start-ups

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Meanwhile, the much-anticipated comprehensive immigration reforms bill, which was expected to be introduced on Monday, could not be released following the blasts in Boston.

According to US media reports, it had a fair chance of getting unveiled on Tuesday (EST).

However, leaked information based on the outline the bipartisan lawmakers had released to the media reveal Indian IT companies have to pay a much higher price in order to avail visas, once the proposals becomes a law.

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Image: Indian American students at a campus in New York.
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com.
Tags: US , EST , Boston

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US immigration reforms to give fillip to Indian start-ups

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According to industry insiders, though the bill may have some good provisions such as increasing the visa cap and number of green cards, there would be significant restriction on Indian IT firms that depend heavily on non-immigrant visas.

According to the US daily 'Politico', eight senators, also known as Gang of Eight, have proposed to increase the H-1B visas from the current level of 65,000 to 110,000.

This would further go up to 180,000 based on the demand. However, the bill has provisions under which with more than 75 per cent of their workforce made up of H-1B visa holders will be barred from brining new offshore workers, in 2014.
That number will eventually go up to 65 per cent in 2015 and 50 per cent in 2016, it added.

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Photographs: Reuters.
Tags: H-1B , US , Politico

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US immigration reforms to give fillip to Indian start-ups

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"We still have not seen the language, but the indications are that there will be significant restrictions, which would be applied only on the Indian companies. It could be either in terms of requiring them to pay more fees or higher wages. It could also increase scrutiny and audits which would only target Indian companies," said Amit Nivsarkar, vice-president, Nasscom.

The eight senators who crafted the immigration agreement are Republican senators Marco Rubio, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake, and Democratic senators Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin, Robert Menendez, and Michael Bennet.


Photographs: Reuters.

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