Iowa senator’s ‘hold’ endangering Startup Visa Act

Original post by Adrienne Baughman via omaha

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) confers with attendees at Thinc Iowa in November.

As Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad attends the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, DC, today, some key startup legislation is currently being held in the Senate Judiciary Committee by fellow Iowa Republican, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley.

“I think we are really looking at about a six-week window for Congress to act,” said Cameron Cushman, an associate with the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

“If the proposed legislation directly affecting startups doesn’t move before June, then there is little chance anything will pass in this Congress. Then you are looking at next year,” Cushman said.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, The Startup Visa Act of 2011 (H.R. 1114) was introduced last spring by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and co-sponsored by Rep. William Owens (D-NY). The bill would issue new visas to sponsored foreign entrepreneurs who possess specific financial backing.

The proposed Startup Visa Act is summarized in Congress as the following:

StartUp Visa Act of 2011 – Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish an employment-based, conditional immigrant visa (StartUp visa) for a sponsored alien entrepreneur: (1) with required amounts of financial backing from a qualifying investor, government entity, or venture capitalist; and (2) whose commercial activities will generate required levels of employment, revenue, or capital investment.

Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to terminate the status of a sponsored entrepreneur (and the alien spouse and children of such entrepreneur) if not later than three years after the date on which such permanent resident status was conferred: (1) the sponsoring venture capitalist or investor fails to meet investment requirements; or (2) the entrepreneur fails to meet job creation, capital investment, or revenue requirements.