Today the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Policy Enforcement held a hearing entitled “The Investor Visa Program: Key to Creating American Jobs.” The NVCA was fortunate to have not one, but two members testify in support of the StartUp Visa legislation. Foundry Group Managing Director and NVCA Board member Jason Mendelson was joined by Menlo Ventures Managing Director and StartUpVisa.com co-founder Shervin Pishevar in asserting that the United Statesneeds immigrant entrepreneurs to grow our economy and create jobs and that Congress must pass the StartUp Visa legislation soon or we risk losing these important individuals (and their companies) to other countries.
In his testimony, Jason stated that the StartUp Visa program is not a nicety but a necessity to U.S. economic growth:
"At a time when we are in desperate need of both fiscal responsibility and economic stimulus, the StartUp Visa Act will create American jobs at no cost to the federal government. Each day that passes without this legislation, another company builder is turned away and jobs are created elsewhere. On behalf of the venture capital and startup communities, I urge Congress to send the message that our country is “open for business” and eager to welcome job creating entrepreneurs to our shores."
Shervin offered his perspective as a venture capitalist and immigrant entrepreneur:
"The StartUp Visa legislation applies two very important filters so that when the United States accepts an immigrant entrepreneur who has received venture investment, we are getting the best and brightest candidates from around the globe. First, there is the self selection filter which applies to any individual enterprising enough to leave one’s home and attempt to innovate and grow a business in a new country. The second filter is the venture capital vetting process which only funds those companies that have the highest chance to succeed. The result will be creating a network of highly motivated, well supported entrepreneurs who will generate value."
Both Jason and Shervin urged Congress to pass the StartUp Visa legislation on its own merits and not get caught up in comprehensive immigration reform any longer.
Subcommittee Chairman Gallegly and Ranking Member Lofgren were both very appreciative of our witnesses and there appears to be bipartisan support for this legislation. For the NVCA’s part, we were pleased to be able to put two very strong voices behind the effort to move this bill forward.
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