Tahmina Watson

President Biden’s Immigration Reform Bill Needs a Startup Visa

On Thursday, 2.18.21, Congress dropped the US Citizenship Act 2021. It has some great provisions, and is a bold step towards immigration reform. I applaud the leaders in shaping the bill as it stands. Here is what I wrote when I saw a summary of the bill prior to its release.

Upon reading the bill, I can confirm that I do not see a Startup Visa provision. The bill includes a brand new and worthy provision to improve regional economic development and sets aside 10,000 visas (see below text). The provision is creative, broad, and progressive. I can see a lot of good use for it. However, we need a startup visa specifically for international entrepreneurs.

The bill states that under a new pilot program, 10,000 visas (green cards) will be set aside for those who are considered “essential to the economic development strategies” of cities and states. It further states that a labor certification will apply to the pilot program. A labor certification means that an employer must first test the US labor market. The employer must then apply for a green card. Here are the problems with this:

  1. This provision is not designed for a startup visa specifically. Startups have their ecosystem and support, and those are not taken into account.

I reiterate that I like the provision for the potential broad use it can have. But we need to have a startup visa in the law clearly written for startup founders.

These are my initial remarks. I will undoubtedly be writing more soon. In the meantime, here is a reminder of what the 2012/13 immigration reform bill S.744 included for startup founders and entrepreneurs. Since this S.744 provision did pass in the Senate in 2013, let’s bring it back and insert into the USCA21!

In the meantime, read my book The Startup Visa: Key to Job Growth and Economic Prosperity in America. It is essential reading for those who care about this issue.

More soon- Tahmina

Copy of bill-text


Founder@WatsonImmigrationLaw, passionate #immigrationlawyer, #immigrationreform advocate 4 #entrepreneurs, author, blogger, radio show host, speaker mother&wife