Bill Creates New Immigrant Category to Help Foreign Students with STEM Degrees Start Businesses in America and Create U.S. Jobs
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) reintroduced the INVEST in America Act to strengthen our economic competitiveness by fostering an enhanced environment for high-skilled immigrants to create start-ups. Specifically, the legislation would make it easier for foreign students who have graduated from U.S. universities with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM), and other related fields, to stay in the country if they start their businesses here and create American jobs. Schiff hopes to include the legislation in any comprehensive immigration reform package.
According to research by the Kauffman Foundation, 60,000 foreign students graduate each year from a U.S. university with a STEM degree. Another study found that as many as 262 additional native-born workers are employed for every 100 foreign-born workers putting advanced U.S. degrees to work in STEM fields. At the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), for example, foreign students make up nearly 40 percent of the graduate student body. Due to the lack of U.S. immigration options, many of these talented individuals are being forced to return to their country of origin at the expiration of their student visas, where they then take their entrepreneurial ideas, build on them in those foreign countries, and boost those economies instead of our own, while creating competition for American companies.
"This legislation would encourage highly-skilled individuals to grow their businesses right here in the United States, boosting job creation and our economy," Rep. Schiff said. "I was pleased to see that the Senate's immigration reform bill included a provision modeled after this legislation, and I remain hopeful that the House will bring a similar, comprehensive bill to the Floor that includes provisions of INVEST.
"The INVEST in America Act will allow highly skilled entrepreneurs the opportunity to build the next great company and to do it in America. Our universities are educating the next generation of Steve Jobs – we want to make sure they build the next Apple in the United States and not overseas."
Under the legislation, permanent residency will be made available to immigrant entrepreneurs who are in the process of completing or have recently completed a graduate STEM degree from an accredited university in the U.S. To qualify, the immigrant entrepreneur must start a new business relevant to the area of study; create two new jobs or invest $200,000 after two years; and create five jobs or invest $500,000 in the business within five years.