Originally published: January 30, 2013
Last updated: February 14, 2013 - 9:07pm
The tech industry has been urging Congress to take meaningful action on immigration reform for several years now, with many calling for the creation of a so-called startup visa — a dedicated category that would allow foreigners to launch their own business in the US under more flexible conditions than traditional work visas.
Proponents say this visa would make it easier for foreign talent to stay and create jobs in the US, but their calls for reform have thus far yielded scant results. That may soon change, however, now that immigration policy has come to the forefront of the national agenda. The 2012 presidential election seems to have finally mobilized politicians on both sides of the aisle to enact serious immigration reform, as evidenced by the comprehensive legislation proposed this week in the Senate. President Obama, meanwhile, has publicly reaffirmed his support for the startup visa, including it as a provision in the immigration framework he unveiled at a speech in Nevada. Yet it remains unclear whether the startup visa will be carried forward on the wings of bipartisan consensus, or lost amid the broader debate over big ticket issues like border security and paths to citizenship. And as its fate hangs in the balance, the tech industry runs the risk of seeing even more aspiring entrepreneurs take their talents elsewhere.
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