Kerry-Lugar Immigration Bill Introduced for “Alien Entrepeneurs”

Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar have introduced a bill that would establish a brand-new way for immigrant entrepreneurs to qualify for permanent residence status. The bill, called the StartUpVisa Act of 2010 (S. 3029), would establish an EB-6 investor category for entrepreneurs to qualify for permanent residence if they can demonstrate that a qualified U.S. investor has dedicated a minimum of $250,000 to the immigrant’s startup venture.

The bill provides for permanent residence if the foreign national is able to attract a minimum of $250,000 in equity financing from either a “Qualified Venture Capitalist” or from a “Qualified Super Angel Investor.” The terms “Qualified Venture Capitalist” and “Qualified Super Angel Investor” are defined in the bill and require track records of past investments. Each investor must invest not less than $100,000 in an equity financing of at least $250,000.

Conditional Permanent Residence will be granted for a two-year period during which time the foreign national must show that the new venture has created at least five new full-time jobs and has raised a total of $1 million in capital investment or has generated income of at least $1 million.

This bill, if enacted, would provide an important way for foreign national entrepreneurs who can attract equity financing to become permanent residents (green card holders) without having to invest any of their own capital. It would also provide a boost to the U.S. economy by attracting new business ventures fueled by the energy and ideas of talented and creative foreign national entrepreneurs.

We will keep you advised of developments with this piece of proposed legislation, as well as with other immigration reform bills that we expect will be introduced in the coming months.