The Assembly Judiciary Committee took unanimous action Tuesday to pass a Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) authored by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), which calls upon Congress to pass and the President to sign comprehensive federal immigration reform legislation.
This legislation includes the bi-partisan Startup Act 3.0. All Senate Republicans are serving as joint authors of SJR 9 in a united effort to promote Startup Act 3.0, which creates the Entrepreneur’s Visa for legal immigrants, so they can remain in the United States and launch businesses to create jobs.
“The Startup Act means job opportunities for California families,” said Senator Huff. “According to a white paper released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, it has the potential to add between 500,000 and 1.6 million new jobs for Americans over the next 10 years. California has one of the worst unemployment rates in the nation. California needs this opportunity.”
The current U.S. policy of issuing H-1B visas left nearly 40,000 highly skilled immigrants out of luck after federal immigration authorities received too many applications. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can only issue 85,000 H-1B visas every year. The agency was recently flooded with 124,000 applications in five days, forcing a lottery system that left some skilled immigrants shut out of the country.
Senator Huff’s resolution states: “The United States economy has been enriched by the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants from around the world. Foreign nationals residing in the United States were named as inventors or co-inventors in one-quarter of all patent applications filed in 2006. Fifty-two percent of Silicon Valley startups between 1995 and 2005 were founded or cofounded by immigrants, generating $52 billion in revenues and employing 450,000 workers.”
“Businesses created by high-skilled immigrants have long been a source of jobs for all Californians,” said Senator Huff. “Unfortunately, our old and unworkable visa policies are hurting our state. In the past seven years, the national rate of startups by immigrants has dropped to 42 percent. The number of foreign nationals with advanced degrees awaiting permanent residence status in the U.S. has grown to over one million. Passage of Startup Act 3.0 will begin to resolve the problems with our broken H-1B visa system and allow these people to create companies, wealth and jobs here instead of abroad.”
America’s success at importing high-skilled immigrants has not been lost on other countries. According to a report issued by the National Academy of Sciences, at least seven other countries have taken action since 2011 to attract and better support entrepreneurs. Countries like Canada, Chile and the United Kingdom are aggressively courting the world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs.“Many of these highly skilled innovators are opting to return home, or worse yet, immigrate to other countries that welcome them with open arms,” said Senator Huff. “We need to reform a broken immigration system so we can tell these entrepreneurs and highly skilled immigrants that they are welcome in the United States.”