Morning Coffee May 12 2011

H-1B Potentials Stay Home

By joseph walker

Moving to Silicon Valley, Boston or New York City to start a company and make a fortune is so 1999. That's what some foreign-born entrepreneurs are thinking after moving home to start their own businesses because of restrictive American immigration policies. Back then, the number of skilled worker visas was capped at 195,000. Now, the cap is only 65,000.

The founder of an Indian version of Groupon says that his company will top $100 million in revenue next year and that he is adding 70 new hires a month. He left America in 2007 after his H-1B visa expired. Meanwhile, China says that the number of Chinese nationals who have returned home was up 25% from 2009 to 134,800.

Instead of joining America's next generation of immigrant entrepreneurs, these highly-educated individuals are seeking opportunity in homelands that have deeper Internet penetration than ever.

A Senate bill called the Startup Visa Act has been reintroduced this year, but has failed to gain traction in an often deadlocked Congress. The bill would allow foreign-born entrepreneurs to remain in the country with the support of a venture capital firm or investor. (USA Today)

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