The United States of America is a nation built on the skill and ingenuity of people from all over the globe, but its current immigration policy no longer reflects that history. Under current policies, 20,000 American-educated immigrants are forced out of the country every year, which is a massive loss of potential talent. By creating a complex business immigration law system, and thus making it difficult for skilled immigrants to obtain the proper paperwork to work in the United States, our already struggling economy is taking an extra, unnecessary hit.

Loss of Talent, Loss of Jobs

According to the Partnership for a New American Economy, 40 percent of current Fortune 500 companies in the United States were founded by either immigrants or their children. In addition, the same report discovered that those immigrant-founded companies generated more revenue than the GDPs of every country outside of the United States, save China and Japan. These immigrants and their children seem to be more willing to take risks, and those risks have clearly paid off.

Between 1995 and 2005, half of the startups in Silicon Valley were founded by immigrants. And in 2005, American companies that had been founded by immigrants provided over 400,000 jobs in the engineering and technology industries and did $52 billion in sales. But unfortunately, 20,000 American-educated immigrants are forced to leave the country every year by the country’s current caps on immigration—that’s a lot of lost opportunity.

A Potential Solution

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS), which President Obama signed into law in April of this year, is aimed at making it easier for startups to succeed by legalizing crowdfunding and encouraging small companies to consider an initial public offering. This is a step in the right direction, but the JOBS Act ignores the immigrant demographic.

The Startup Act 2.0, which has bipartisan support, was introduced earlier this year to address that issue. The act is aimed at reforming America’s visa system—it would eliminate the per-country cap for employment-based immigrant visas; put immigrants with a master’s or Ph.D in science, technology, engineering, or math in line for green cards; and allow immigrant entrepreneurs who employ American citizens to be granted visas. While these are all good ideas, the bill could still use some work before Congress considers passing it. For example, giving green cards to those with high-level STEM degrees is a valid proposition, but it ignores entrepreneurial immigrants who earned degrees in non-STEM areas. Under this act, the founders of PayPal, YouTube, and Skype would all have been denied.

In any case, the Startup Act 2.0 is definitely a huge step in the right direction toward taking advantage of the nation’s valuable highly skilled immigrants. However, the current system remains incredibly complicated, making it difficult for businesses to hire immigrant workers. For more information or guidance concerning business immigration law, contact Zulkie Partners LLC, one of America’s top business immigration law firms.