The lack of a pure “Entrepreneur Visa” represents a glaring hole in our current immigration system. The enormous contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs has been well-documented. Some of the statistics quantifying these contributions include:
40 Percent of Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. were founded by at least one immigrant or a child of an immigrant including Comcast, Intel, Google, Sun Microsystems, Qualcomm and Yahoo.
Half of Silicon Valley start-ups between 1995 and 2005 counted an immigrant as one of their founders.
These statistics reflect the fact that between 40-50% of U.S. Master’s degrees and Ph.Ds in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) are awarded to immigrants.
To encourage talented individuals to stay and found their companies in the United States, legislation has been proposed in Congress to create a true “Entrepreneur Visa” that does not penalize a founder in terms of immigration options merely because the company is in its infancy with regards to capital, investment and earnings.
Until legislation is passed that creates an “Entrepreneur Visa”, immigrants who desire to found a company in the U.S. must work within the parameters of H-1b, L-1, E-2, or EB-5 visas. While these visa categories are not ideal fits for many entrepreneurs, in many situations, these visa categories do provide a viable option for entrepreneurs.
Mr. Shaftel is particularly passionate about working with immigrant founders of new companies. After graduating from Stanford University in 1997, Mr. Shaftel worked at a Silicon Valley based start-up in 2000 as the Director of Business Development. Mr. Shaftel currently provides immigration advice to a number of former classmates and business colleagues who have founded companies.