TechHui

Hawaiʻi's Technology Community

There is interesting news from Washington, D.C. this week on the immigration front. Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) have introduced a new bill in Congress to establish a new visa category for entrepreneurs who are ready to found a new business enterprise. They have titled this the Start-Up Visa, and hope to gather support from congressional colleagues interested in job growth and technological innovation. Read their introductory letter here.
If this passes through the law-making process there will still be a need to draft regulations before it would be implemented, so this is at best a year or more away. Still, it the most positive news we've heard about immigration in a while. And, because job creation is a very hot topic in these times, there may be reason to be optimistic about this plan's chances.
The plan has strong support from the venture capital community, and there seem to be advocates from both the Democratic and Republican business communities. It can be assumed that there will also be vocal opposition from restrictionists, so there will be no easy way to move this forward. Let's hope that reasonable voices will be heard above the noise.
If this does pass, it could provide a new alternative for creative business-minded individuals with relevant backgrounds in technology related fields. It may be a partial solution for some of our young international graduates would would like to stay and work in the U.S., if they feel ready to jump straight into entrepreneurship from school.
Which may not be as far-fetched as it might have seemed a few years ago. With the recent collaborations between students in the UH College of Engineering and other UH techies and the UH Shidler College of Business, particularly as seen in the University of Hawaii Business Plan Competition, we may be seeing more young graduates going straight from the diploma line into the business start-up line.
And that would be a good thing for the tech sector generally, and for own tech community here in Hawaii particularly. A recent blog on TechCrunch by one of my favorite commentators, Vivek Wadha, explains why this visa would expand job creation and help creative minds find a better route to stay and contribute to our economy than we are now offering.

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Comment by Konstantin A Lukin on February 28, 2010 at 12:51pm
Yep, it would be great to have reinforcements working on the green-tech problem.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on February 26, 2010 at 5:54pm
This is a great initiative. Many countries including Japan already have visas for entrepreneurs.

We really need better merit based immigration policies. If we can't attract and retain smart, motivated business people, techies and scientists we won't remain competitive for long.

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