FWD.us President Todd Schulte released this statement today in response to the USCIS announcement that the H-1B visa cap for FY 2016 has been reached:
“One week – that’s all the time our country allows for high-skilled immigrants to apply for H1-B visas to try to enter the lottery to be able to stay in the U.S. Once again, we see the absurdity of our broken immigration system. The fact that it hasn’t even been a full week since the process opened on April 1st, makes it clear that our broken immigration system continues to hinder our economic growth and job creation.
Immigration has long been our country’s greatest competitive advantage in a global economy, and we should be encouraging the best and the brightest to continue to grow their businesses and create American jobs here at home, instead of denying those dreams and encouraging them to do so for our competitors. Hitting the H-1B visa cap today underscores the urgent need for reform, and we’ll continue working every day to pass a permanent legislative solution.”
“The broken visa system could derail my dreams with the flip of a coin,” said Borui Wang, who received his Master’s degree at Stanford and founded the company Polarr. Borui applied for an H-1B visa this year and, based on FY 2015 data, he has about a 49% chance of being chosen in the lottery. Even though Borui has created three jobs for native-born Americans, he has few options for staying in the United States as an entrepreneur if his H-1B visa application is denied.
The fact is, we are educating people like Borui at America’s best universities, and then denying them the opportunity to build companies that will grow our economy and create American jobs. We need to fix our broken visa system so companies like Borui’s can continue to thrive and contribute to America’s innovative edge. Sign the #Freedom2Innovate petition now to show your support for fixing our visa system and keeping the best and the brightest in the United States.
For the last 30 days, FWD.us has been counting down to Wednesday, April 1st. Today is the day when the 2016 FY H-1B visa lottery opens and immigrant entrepreneurs begin applying for an extremely limited number of slots that will allow them to start companies and create jobs in America, instead of doing so for our foreign competitors.
On March 2nd, we held a Day of Action on which thousands of you called Congress to tell them that we can’t wait any longer to fix our broken immigration system and give everyone the #Freedom2Innovate.
Today, we’re sharing stories of entrepreneurs directly affected by the H-1B visa lottery.
Here are the facts:
Today’s H-1B visa lottery is subject to an arbitrary cap. Just last year, we hit the cap for applications less than one week after the lottery was opened. We expect this year’s cap to be reached in about the same time, or even less. The program is in need of reform and must be modernized to reflect the changing nature of our workforce and the needs of our global economy.
For every 100 H-1B visa holders, another 183 jobs are generated for native-born U.S. workers. As The Economist and various studies have concluded, highly skilled workers – among them, talented visa holders – create American jobs. Immigrants boost the U.S. economy and create jobs in our country.
Every foreign student who graduates from a U.S. university with an advanced degree and stays and works in a STEM-related field creates an additional 2.62 American jobs. It is completely counterproductive to educate foreign-born scientists and engineers at American colleges and universities, train them in our companies, and then deny them visas to stay in the U.S. to start their own businesses and create jobs.
We are a nation of immigrants. Foreign-born talent is vital to U.S. economic growth. The H-1B visa lottery is fundamentally flawed. It’s another clear example of how our immigration system is broken, and why Congress needs to act now to fix it.
We’ll be sharing the stories of immigrants who deserve the freedom to innovate all day online. We hope that you’ll join us, and contribute your own story with the hashtag #Freedom2Innovate.
Last November, as part of his executive action announcement, President Obama introduced an Entrepreneur Pathways program (EPP) — which will serve as a “startup visa” for entrepreneurs who want to grow businesses and create jobs in America.
But we know this program can only be successful if the community has a say in the process. So FWD.us held roundtables with VCs, accelerators, immigrant entrepreneurs, and legal experts and carried out a national survey to crowdsource your great ideas. We recently compiled all of this information into a recommendation brief and submitted it to the White House.
Take a look at the FWD.us recommendation brief and sign on in support.
The FWD.us brief outlines eligibility criteria for EPP based on investment, revenue, and job creation. We make four main recommendations:
- Give Priority to Entrepreneurs That Create American Jobs: Once an applicant qualifies for the Entrepreneur Pathways program, there should be a clear timeline in which the entrepreneur should be able to demonstrate that he/she has created economic opportunity for other Americans. If successful, the entrepreneur should be strongly prioritized to qualify for lawful permanent residency.
- Set Distinct Eligibility Criteria According To Applicants’ Backgrounds And Circumstances: Entrepreneurs come from all kinds of backgrounds — young STEM graduates, accelerator participants, entrepreneurs living abroad, and entrepreneurs who have been living and working in the U.S. for several years. Given the separate challenges facing each category of applicant, we provided different evaluation criteria for these different applicants.
- Use An Either/Or Approach In Evaluating Applicants: Applicants should be evaluated based on level of investment or revenue, but not both. For example, a company specializing in biotechnology may exceed the funding and job creation criteria, but because of extensive product approval processes, the company won’t be able to make revenue for several years. These applicants should still be considered strong candidates, as long as they meet a selection of the requirements rather than all of the requirements.
- Evaluate Job Creation Based On Different Stages of Business Development: When creating the suggested criteria for qualifying for the Entrepreneur Pathways program, we made adjustments according to the different entrepreneur candidates. For example, young STEM graduates and entrepreneurs enrolled in accelerator programs are often in the early stages of their businesses, and should be held to a lower job creation standard than a foreign entrepreneur applying to move her business to the United States.
Join us and show your support for the EPP by signing on to our brief.
By signing onto our brief, you will help us communicate the urgent need for this program. Every day, talented people are prevented from pursuing their dreams and contributing to the strength of our country, and our economy is missing out on the creation of American jobs. This is why the Entrepreneur Pathways program needs to be a priority for the White House. Help us show the Administration that the program has overwhelming support from members of the tech community, and that this is a program whose implementation we cannot afford to delay.
For further information about the Entrepreneur Pathways program, FWD.us’s role in providing community feedback to the White House, and the full text of our 11-page recommendation brief, please visit our website: http://www.fwd.us/pathways
The H-1B visa program helps ensure that the best and the brightest talent from across the globe can boost our country’s economic growth, expand opportunity, and create American jobs: the simple fact is that the H-1B visa program provides immense economic benefits to our economy, and it’s a false choice that we can’t protect American workers and create a better system that allows American companies to get access to the best talent in the world – we can and must do both.
We continue our work every day to secure a permanent legislative solution to fix our broken immigration system, which is hurting our economy, preventing the creation of American jobs, and forcing millions of families to live in fear of separation from their loved ones. We’ll keep fighting to help drive the changes that our country and our economy urgently need.