Immigration reform in the United States has stalled and a comprehensive immigration reform bill is not going to pass this year with Congress ending its session. In the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, there was proposed legislation for a new start-up entrepreneur visa, the X visa. Without reform, some start-up entrepreneurs in the U.S. have had to make difficult choices on where to establish their businesses and raise capital. Singapore and Chile offer attractive immigration opportunities for start-up entrepreneurs. Both countries offer stable political and legal regimes, stable economies and markets offering the ability to expand and raise capital, and progressive legislation promoting technological innovation. These market attributes are critical to attracting start-up companies. We have all these fundamental market strengths here in the U.S., but we are lacking the immigration mechanism to retain these start-up entrepreneurs. We need to encourage our elected representatives to pass legislation that will help keep the brightest, most inventive, tech-savvy minds here in the United States.
Singapore’s Entrepass visa was introduced in October 2003, specifically for start-up entrepreneurs with the intent of enhancing Singapore’s entrepreneurial vibrancy, fostering economic growth and development, and creating a dynamic business environment. To qualify for the Singapore Entrepass, the entrepreneur must have a new innovative start-up company, which is ready to operate in Singapore. The other requirements are: (1) the company must be a Private Limited Company registered with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, (2) the company must have at least $50,000 paid-up-capital, (3) a bank statement, from the Singapore-based company bank account, of at least $50,000, and (4) the entrepreneur must hold at least 30% of shares in the company. In addition to the above criteria, entrepreneurs have to show evidence that their businesses meet at least one of these requirements: (1) receives $100,000 minimum funding or investment from a recognized third-party venture capitalist or business angel who is accredited by a Singapore Government agency, (2) holds intellectual property rights, (3) has ongoing research collaboration with a research institution recognized by Agency for Science, Technology and Research or Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore, or (4) is an incubatee at a Singapore Government supported incubator.
Chile’s “Start-up Chile” program was introduced in 2010 to attract world-class early stage start-ups to Chile. The end goal of the program is to convert Chile into the definitive innovation and entrepreneurial hub of Latin America. The program is funded by the Chilean government and it provides selected entrepreneurs and their start-up companies with US$40,000 of equity-free seed capital, and a temporary 1-year visa to develop their projects for six months, along with access to the most potent social and capital networks in the country. The entrepreneurs are also provided with office space and equipment for their projects. In just two and a half years years the program has hosted 687 entrepreneurs from 35 countries, created 695 jobs and sparked 36 deals with Chilean investors, according to Forbes.com. So needless to say, the program is working.
The proposed X visa mirrors some of the language from the Entrepass and the Start-up Chile program. Similar to the Entrepass the start-up needs to secure investment and in comparison to the Start-up Chile Program the start-up would have access to the most potent social and capital networks in the country. The proposed X visa is a nonimmigrant investor visa, or temporary visa, which would be for entrepreneurs whose businesses have attracted at least $100,000 in investment, or have created no fewer than three jobs during a two-year period prior to the application and generated $250,000 in annual revenue. The X visa would be granted for three years.
We need to retain highly skilled and talented immigrant entrepreneurs in the U.S. Start-ups promote economic growth and development, foster a dynamic business environment, and create jobs in the United States. We need to encourage our elected officials to pass legislation that will help keep the brightest, most inventive, tech-savvy minds here in the United States. To contact your elected officials, please click here.
Subhan Law Office, LLC, is committed to helping immigrants and entrepreneurs with short-term and long-term visa strategies. We help reunite families, assist businesses with the hire and transfer of highly skilled workers, advise entrepreneurs, and counsel investors on permanent residency through investment. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your immigration needs in greater detail at 414-232-8704 or toll free at 1-855-946-6848.