Obama, Immigration and Silicon Valley

The U.S. technology industry might finally get the immigration reform that it wants. Bipartisan Senate groups introduced two tech-focused bills this month. The Immigration Innovation Act – which increases the cap on H-1B Visas from 65,000 to 115,000, eliminates per-country limits on visa petitioners and lets spouses of H-1B visa holders work – came out of conversations with corporate tech leaders.

The Startup Act, which already has been introduced on three earlier occasions, creates a new visa category for foreign entrepreneurs. It also seeks to change the tax code to benefit startups. It was co-sponsored by six Senators including Democrat Mark R. Warner, who himself was a venture investor before he turned to politics.

Should these tech-related measures die, companies like Facebook say they’ll face a talent shortage. The situation could endanger U.S. competiveness as Canada, Germany, South Africa and China attempt to woo engineers from abroad too. Chinese companies have recently made huge venture investments in entrepreneurs around the world and the Silicon Dragon is seen as a serious threat to Silicon Valley.

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About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…