On June 5, a bipartisan group of seven members of the House of Representatives introduced legislation that would, among other things, create two new immigrant visa categories and eliminate the per-country employment visa caps in order to promote business growth. Although full text of the Startup Act 2.0 (H.R. 5893) is not yet available, it is believed to be identical to companion legislation (S. 3217) introduced in the Senate last month by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mark Warner (D-VA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Christopher Coons (D-DE). The newer House bill was introduced by Reps. Michael G. Grimm (R-NY), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Robert Dold (R-IL), Jared Polis (D-CO), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), Russ Carnahan (D-MO), and Devin Nunes (R-CA).
The Startup Act 2.0 seeks to do the following:
- Create a new visa category granting conditional resident status for up to 50,000 foreign students who graduate from a U.S. university with a Master’s or Ph.D. degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). The STEM visa recipients’ conditional status would be contingent upon their remaining actively engaged in a STEM-related field for five consecutive years. Once the five-year period has expired, the STEM visa holder would become a permanent legal resident with the option to naturalize.
- Create an entrepreneurial visa category for up to 75,000 immigrants who have an H-1B visa or have completed graduate level work in a STEM field. Once the entrepreneurial visa is obtained, the holder would have one year in which to register at least one new business that employs at least two full-time employees who are not related to the visa holder, and invest or raise capital investments of at least $100,000. If the visa holder meets these conditions, he or she would be permitted to remain in the U.S. for an additional three years to run the business, during which time the business would have to operate with at least five full-time, non-family employees. Following the successful completion of the four-year period, the visa holder would have the opportunity to remove the conditional resident status.
- Eliminate the per-country numerical cap for employment-based immigrant visas.
- Require federal agencies to provide a cost-benefit analysis of any proposed major rules. Factors to be taken into consideration for this analysis would include direct costs to businesses and others to comply with the rule, and “any adverse effects on the efficient functioning of the economy, private markets (including productivity, employment, and competitiveness), health, safety, and the natural environment.” In addition, agencies would need to provide justification for embarking on additional regulation and provide an analysis of possible alternatives to the proposed rule that would achieve the same end.
In a press release, House bill co-sponsor Kevin Yoder (R-KS) said that this legislation:
is a great example of Congress working in a bipartisan manner to put Americans back to work. This legislation will help keep America a global leader in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, and in the competition for the brightest minds of future generations. Additionally, it will give small businesses much-needed support to stay afloat and add employees. I’m glad to be a part of this team working to move the Startup Act 2.0 through the House.
Both the House and Senate versions of the Startup Act 2.0 have been referred to Committee. More information on this legislation can be found here.
Photo credit: David Franklin