Tuesday, October 16, 2012
U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY STIFLES IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURSHIP
A new study by the Kauffman Foundation indicates that since 2005, less U.S. companies were founded by immigrants or foreign-born entrepreneurs, with the most significant drop in the state of California within technology firms.
The Kauffman Foundation is right on the money. Our immigration system is more and more unwelcoming to immigrant entrepreneurs. Coupled with a recession and more difficult business environment in the U.S. in the past few years, less immigrant entrepreneurs are finding the U.S. an attractive place.
The Kauffman Foundation report shows that the proportion of companies founded by immigrants nationwide has dropped to 24.3 percent from 25.3 percent in the past five years. In Silicon Valley, the decline was worse: dropping to 43.9 percent from 52.4 percent.
This is alarming for anyone who cares about innovation, job creation or U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace. This is what we have been telling everyone for years, that we have a broken immigration system that needs to be fixed and welcome entrepreneurs.
The U.S. can reverse the trend of declining immigrant entrepreneurship with changes in policies and opportunities. We really ought to have start-up business visas for these entrepreneurs and expand the number of green cards for skilled foreigners to work in these start-ups in order to make the U.S. more attractive.
USCIS has started taking encouraging steps like their entrepreneurs in residence program, which had little effect so far. What we need is opening doors and our immigration system for entrepreneurs who bring innovation, investments and jobs to the U.S.
Hopefully the new elections will bring a different Congress which will actually do something about the problems in this country, instead of the “do nothing” mode we have endured so far.