Wednesday, 2 August 2017
Trump Administration Suspends Program for Visas for Entrepreneurs
The Trump Administration suspended an Obama Administration program about to go in effect that would provide visas to entrepreneur immigrants. According to the Wharton School of Business, the program would help create jobs in the United States and had little downside. The program is apparently similar to others created in Canada, France and Argentina. Notably, the Trump Administration is supporting new legislation to radically reform the immigration system in the United States by moving to a supposed “merit” based system designed to reduce immigration by 50%. The Wharton School of Business states:
Immigrants make up about 12% of the U.S. working population, [Hsu] added. Among STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers, immigrants make up 24% of bachelors and 47% of doctorates, he continued. “So [immigrant entrepreneurs] are punching above their weight in the talent pool for the workforce that we desire in the U.S.,” he said. He pointed to one much-cited statistic: foreign-born entrepreneurs make up about half the founders in the so-called “billion dollar club” of startups that are worth at least a billion dollars each.
In an Op-Ed in Crain’s New York Business, Orin Herskowitz, the Senior Vice President of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer of Columbia University and President of Columbia Technology Ventures, states that:
The rule, one of President Barack Obama’s final acts in office, provides so-called “startup visas” long sought by Silicon Valley. It is narrow, allowing foreign entrepreneurs to live in the United States for 30 months while building their companies. To qualify, applicants must show that they have reputable investment in their company of no less than $250,000 and the potential for a positive impact on economic growth and job creation. The rule has now been delayed until next March, and the Department of Homeland Security has given notice that the administration will propose rescinding the program before then. . . .
There are other storm clouds on the horizon. The president’s proposed budget reduces funding for basic science. And the legal playing field is beginning to tilt against innovators, most dramatically through a retreat from the respect for patent protection recognized by our Constitution more than two centuries ago as a bulwark of our economy. The former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, David Kappos, points out that a series of court decisions have rendered many biotech and software inventions un-patentable or at best uncertain in the U.S., causing the abandonment of promising research, or the repositioning of that research overseas to China, where affirmative steps have been taken to strengthen patent protection.
[Hat tip to Technology Transfer Central for the lead to the articles.]