INVEST program changes make it easier for immigrants to start U.S. businesses. |

INVEST program changes make it easier for immigrants to start U.S. businesses.

Last week Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Mark Warner, D-Va., introduced an amendment to the immigration-reform bill before the U.S. Senate.

The amendment proposes changes to capital requirements in the INVEST program to better assist entrepreneurs start U.S. businesses and grow the national economy. Specifically the amendment targets foreign-born entrepreneurs and highly skilled college graduates of American universities to start businesses in the United States, thus creating good paying, middle-class jobs.

If passed, the amendment could make the U.S. more competitive with China and India by keeping startups, such as software, biotech and clean energy companies, in the U.S. The amendment also could make the U.S. more competitive with western nations like Canada, the United Kingdom and Chile who have already started courting foreign entrepreneurs.

“Our country is stronger and more prosperous thanks to immigrants,” Udall said in a news release. “The comprehensive immigration reform legislation currently before the U.S. Senate takes small steps in the right direction, but we need to do more to keep the United States from falling behind in the global economic race.”

The Udall/Warner amendment seeks to improve upon the INVEST visa provisions by making it easier for qualified entrepreneurs to use the program by — lowering the capital requirement for renewal of the non-immigrant visa from $250,000 to $150,000, allowing entrepreneurs to remain in the U.S. if they have successfully sold their company or have taken it public during a three-year period, doubles the amount of available green cards for each fiscal year and extends the timeframe for qualified entrepreneurs to meet revenue targets.

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