In a speech today discussing immigration policy, Obama said that the country needs “startup visas” for founders who raise a minimum level of financing and employ a certain number of people.
Obama noted how several “brilliant” students come to the U.S. to study in college but then have to go back home due to current immigration regulations. He wants those future stars to stay in the country and create jobs here.
There is a limited number of visas and green cards, and the costs associated with the visa process are expensive. This has resulted in a decline in the number of immigrant-founded startups.
Earlier today, a group of four senators introduced the Immigration Innovation Act, a bill that would increase the number of H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers and allow foreign graduates with “advanced technical degrees” from U.S. colleges to stay in the country.
This is an important issue for the growth of startups. Nearly one-quarter of the engineering and technology companies founded in the U.S. between 2006 and 2012 had at least one founder who was foreign-born.
You can watch the speech in full over at C-SPAN.
Previously on GeekWire: Twitter growth: 1.1 million Inauguration-related Tweets compared to just 82,392 in 2008