The International Experience of Startup Visas for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Date of Publication: 
July, 2020
Source Organization: 
National Foundation for American Policy

The international experience is that establishing startup visas to grant permanent residence to foreign-born entrepreneurs can bring jobs and innovation to a country, according to a new analysis of immigration policies in four nations. The current economic problems in the United States may bring renewed focus on innovative ways to create jobs in America.

Increased investment and more entrepreneurs will help America recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Immigrants are a great source of both. Immigrants are more than twice as likely as native-born Americans to become entrepreneurs, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.1 That is the case even though, unlike in other countries, there is no “startup visa” in the United States that allows foreign nationals to gain permanent residence after founding a new business that meets certain thresholds. Startup visa proposals in the United States have suffered the same legislative fate as other immigration initiatives. A 2013 Senate-passed immigration bill contained a startup visa but the legislation did not pass the House.

This report analyzes startup visas in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (UK) and offers lessons that may be applicable to U.S. policymakers.

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National Foundation for American Policy. (2020, July). The International Experience of Startup Visas for Immigrant Entrepreneurs.