Last month attended the Brooklyn Tech Meetup at Brooklyn Law School. The next one scheduled for March 26, 2013 is $10. 300 people were in attendance. Some were paying attention to the demos while others were enjoying the fine selection of Brooklyn Brewery Beers. One off the attendees struck up a conversation with me. After engaging with him as per Keith Ferrazzi (its a networking event after all), he divulged his predicament with me.
He was twenty years old and started an exercise app with a couple of his roommates from college. His new venture were ready to hire their first employee. He was living on a diet Red Bulls and ramen in Bushwick. His student visa is set to expire at the end of the semester. He was pleading for a way for him to find a way to stay in the the US. He also wanted to discuss drafting a shareholder agreement.
It is now extremely difficult for him to obtain a green card. Clearly he is bright young man who is going to add jobs to the New York City economy. Placing him back on a plane come June doesn’t make any sense. But things are looking up if Immigration reform gets enacted.
President Obama just called on Congress to create a special visa category that allows foreign-born entrepreneurs who launch successful startups to remain in the country.
Obama touted the need for a “startup visa” that allows immigrants who found startups to live in the United States as long as they raise a minimum level of financing and employ a certain number of workers. They could “remain permanently” in the country if their startups continue to grow, he said.
“Right now there are brilliant students from all around the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities,” Obama said. “They are earning degrees in the fields of the future like engineering and computer science. But once they finish school, once they earn that diploma, there’s a good chance they’ll have to leave our country.”
So if you are a Brooklyn entrepreneur looking to stay in US after school there is hope. Keep my email address on hand….