Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Entrepreneurs will look elsewhere unless US visa system is overhauled

A Spanish-born entrepreneur has warned that unless the current visa system is changed, then other entrepreneurs will begin to look elsewhere.

IƱaki Berenguer recently sold his first company for $26.5m, and is now working on his second startup. He points out that many tech entrepreneurs still consider the US the ideal location for starting up a business as it offers infrastructure, capital, resources and customers. 'If you want to make it big, you have to come to the US,' he says.

Application process

However, he has also highlighted how difficult it is for foreign tech entrepreneurs to get a visa to work in the US. The lengthy and confusing application process and waiting times are discouraging applicants from applying to the US, and now many are considering other countries as an alternative. Countries like Canada, Singapore and Chile are now offering startup visas to attract foreign entrepreneurs and rival the dominance of the US.

The US EB-5 immigrant investor visa has remained largely unchanged since 1990 when it was first introduced. Critics of the current visa scheme say that it needs to be changed to take into account the current needs of the US economy



Startup visa

Part of the solution may be the proposed new startup visa, which is currently being debated in Congress. However the House of Representatives and the Senate seem unable to agree on a final version of the proposed bill, meaning that it seems unlikely it will be approved anytime soon.
Startup type visas have already been implemented successfully in other countries. A US startup visa for would enable graduates of US universities, who want to remain in the country to start new businesses.

Another route might be the L-1 visa, which allows multinational companies to transfer employees (usually managers or specialists) from its foreign operations to come and work in the US. These L-1 visas are initially granted for three years, but can be extended for up to seven years for managers and executives and five years for specialised knowledge workers.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United States. Please visit our USA page for more information:

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