July 7, 2017

Niskanen Immigration Policy Brief: Entrepreneurial Visas



Entrepreneurs in the U.S. economy are responsible for the greatest wealth creation. There is enormous opportunity for new goods and services in the United States—and financial success—for those willing to take entrepreneurial risk.

Some of the most powerful and effective innovators are immigrant entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the unique opportunities the United States offers. Businesses led by foreign-born talent creates jobs for Americans and brings in revenue that propels our economy.

Immigrants are twice as likely to start a business, and immigrants and their children created 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. Forty-two spots on the Forbes 400 list are occupied by U.S. billionaires from 21 foreign countries, who have a combined net worth of $250 billion.

All but two of these entrepreneurs made their fortunes in the United States. Without them, America can’t lay claim to successes such as Tesla, PayPal, eBay, Yahoo, Nordstrom, Panda Express, and many others.

Unfortunately, the only opportunity for most foreign entrepreneurs to come to America to start is a business is to secure an H-1B visa and launch a venture on the side—a notoriously difficult endeavor—or to secure work authorization through a family visa.

In order to compete with other countries and allow foreign immigrants to start businesses more efficiently in the United States, we need a new visa that makes it easier for entrepreneurs to contribute positively to the economy.

For more information, read our policy brief here.