Stuart Anderson, one of the top thinkers on immigration policy, has written a new paper for the National Foundation for American Policy entitled "A New Immigrant Entrepreneur Visa Aimed at Job Creation in America". Unlike the EB-5 investor visa, this one would be aimed at encouraging start up businesses that create jobs as opposed to looking stictly at maximizing the dollars invested. Here's the quick summary:



In designing the new immigrant visa, the key is to avoid the type of high capital requirements ($500,000 or more) present in the current immigrant investor visa category or other immigration proposals. The average startup company begins with only approximately $31,000. Establishing large minimum capital requirements unnecessarily prevents new businesses from being formed. Entrepreneurs often start with little capital, relying primarily on revenue streams from customers or clients to hire employees and fund expansion. Under the new visa category, a potential immigrant would submit a business plan to be evaluated by the Small Business Administration and upon judging the ability of the business to employ three or more U.S. workers (non-relatives) the individual would receive conditional permanent residence. That would allow the entrepreneur to enter the United States or adjust status if here on a temporary visa. The conditional status would be removed and the green card awarded after two years if the individual satisfied the terms of the new EB-6 (employment-based 6th preference) visa by creating the required jobs. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudicators and State Department consular officers would be responsible to ensure an individual's admissibility and conduct background and security checks.



The smartest part of this is also letting the Small Business Administration take the lead in evaluating the business merits of the start up plan. One of my biggest complaints about USCIS is that individuals with zero expertise are making expert judgments on all sorts of cases. Should USCIS examiners decide who has extraordinary ability in the arts? Should they be determining whether a scientist's work is in the national interest? Or should those cases be handled by agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Science Foundation?


Stuart sums up the benefits of the proposal in a column he's written for Forbes. And if you have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal's web site, here is another story on the proposal.