Venture Capitalists’ Top Policy Priority: Immigration Reform

The No. 1 issue that politicians must tackle now? According to a survey of venture capitalists based in the U.S., it’s immigration reform.

Venture capitalists elsewhere tended to top their lists with their own countries’ tax and job-creation policies. But more than 60% of venture capitalists surveyed in the U.S. put immigration reform ahead of tax policy, patent rules and infrastructure.

That large percentage surprised Jim Atwell, national managing partner at Deloitte & Touche, which conducted the annual survey with the National Venture Capital Assn. and asked the policy question for the first time.

He said venture capitalists invest in start-ups and want a bigger supply of entrepreneurs and workers to fuel them — and they believe that current immigration policy plugs up the flow of new talent.

“Venture capitalists view themselves as long-term investors, and these upticks and downticks in the market don’t necessarily concern them,” Atwell said. “They are really interested in the talent. That’s first and foremost, top of mind.”

The survey’s other notable finding: Global confidence about investing in Brazil sank 14%, while India was a big gainer, rising 8%.

The survey answers date to May and June, before reports of slow growth in China’s economy spooked stock markets worldwide in August. Atwell said there’s still bullishness in the U.S. but much will depend on the next few months.

Though several companies have tabled plans to go public in recent weeks, Atwell said at least three companies planning initial public offerings of stock are pitching to investors now.

“We’ll return to the norm if they do well,” he said. “If they don’t do so well, there will be choppiness.”

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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…