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Have an idea? Find an investor and get a US visa!

Last updated on: March 15, 2011 10:33 IST

Have an idea? Find an investor and get a US visa!

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Lalit K Jha in Washington

Even as the rules for getting an H-1B visa have been made more tough, three powerful American Senators on Monday introduced a legislation in the Congress which if passed would instantly provide a two-year United States visa to any entrepreneur that can obtain an investor to fund his idea.

The StartUp Visa Act of 2011 will allow an immigrant entrepreneur to receive a two-year visa if he or she can show that a qualified US investor is willing to invest in the immigrant's start-up venture.

The Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators John Kerry, Richard Lugar and Mark Udall.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney plans to introduce companion legislation in the US House of Representatives.

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Photographs: Reuters
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"Every job-creating American business started as an idea in the mind of an entrepreneur. We need to keep and bring more of those ideas to our shores where they can put Americans to work. Global competition for talent and investment grows more intense daily and the United States must step up or be left behind," said Kerry.

"We want to establish a way for the smartest and most entrepreneurial individuals in the world to come to the United States and create jobs. Many are already here studying at our great universities," said Lugar.

Senator Udall said the broken immigration system prevents talented entrepreneurs from all over the world from developing ideas that keep America competitive in a global economy.

"This legislation will promote our competitiveness around the globe and create a new generation of prosperity here at home by helping highly-skilled talent -- wherever in the world it comes from -- to create companies and jobs in the US," Maloney said.

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Photographs: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
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The StartUp Visa Act of 2011 would amend immigration law to give immigrant entrepreneurs three new options for entry or retention of residency.

Under option 1, immigrant entrepreneurs living outside the US would be eligible to apply for a StartUp Visa if a qualified US investor agrees to financially sponsor their entrepreneurial venture with a minimum investment of $100,000.

After two years, their business must have created five new jobs and raised not less than $500,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $500,000 in revenue.

Under option 2, immigrant entrepreneurs currently in the US on an unexpired H-1B visa; or immigrant entrepreneurs currently in the US who have completed a graduate level degree in science, technology, engineering, math, computer science, or other relevant academic discipline from an accredited United States college, university, or other institution of higher education would be eligible for a StartUp Visa.

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Photographs: Reuters
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For this, they must demonstrate annual income of not less than roughly $30,000 or the possession of assets of not less than roughly $60,000; and have proven that a qualified US investor agrees to financially back their entrepreneurial venture with a minimum investment of $20,000.

After two years, their business must have created three new jobs and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $100,000 in revenue.

Under option 3, immigrant entrepreneurs living outside the US would be eligible to apply for a StartUp Visa if they have controlling interest of a company in a foreign country that has generated, during the most recent 12-month period, not less than $100,000 in revenue from sales in the US.

After two years, their business must have created three new jobs and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $100,000 in revenue.



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