Our CEO, Frances Simowitz, recently published a piece in the New York Daily News on Making it in America: The case for immigrant entrepreneur visas in the U.S. The article highlights the important contributions foreign entrepreneurs make to the U.S. economy, and advocates for an improved visa policy to enable these efforts.
Billionaires Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), Jerry Yang (Yahoo!), Pierre Omidyar (eBay), and countless others are all immigrants who made their fortunes after immigrating to the US. In fact, a 2018 study found that 55% of America’s billion-dollar start-ups were set up by immigrants. While many countries, such as Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, and Estonia, all have well established entrepreneur visa systems, America has yet to build a singular, streamlined program. The best the U.S. has come up with is our convoluted system of a half-dozen disparate visa categories, placing the nation at a competitive disadvantage.
However, there is a silver lining to this story.
The House is currently in talks about adding an Immigrant Startup Visa to the Senate Innovation and Competition Act. As a startup accelerator that focuses on helping international founders expand and scale their companies in the US market, we have a deep appreciation for the benefits that a new-and-improved visa policy would reap on the U.S. tech ecosystem and the economy at large.
WEVE Acceleration has had the privilege of witnessing, firsthand, the incredible talent and innovations international startups possess. In Frances’ words:
“They share the moxie of wanting to make it, literally and metaphorically, in America. Let’s stop standing in their way.“