Indian Americans Voice Concerns About ‘Scrapping’ of Startup Visa
The suspension of the much-awaited visa would be a huge setback for US, say Indian Americans.
Terming it as a ‘lose-lose’ situation for US, the Indian Americans have shown concern against the possible scrapping of ‘International Entrepreneur Rule’ known as the startup visa programme.
The Donald Trump administration recently hinted upon suspending the programme, after consistently delaying the launch. The start-up visa programme if implemented, would allow foreign entrepreneurs who have startups in the US to live there. It was approved by former US President Barack Obama’s administration, but has been sent back for review by the Trump administration.
While the Indian startup community is apprehensive about opportunities and business prospects for them in America, the Indian Americans feel that it will impact job creations in US. Speaking to Business Insider Vivek Wadwa, Indian-American technology entrepreneur says:
“Without doubt, bringing in entrepreneurs creates American jobs and expands the economy, it is the closest thing there could be to a free lunch for the United States. This is a lose-lose for the US and for the entrepreneurs who would have come here but it will benefit the countries where they would have come from.”
Under the programme, startups that won $100,000 in government grants or received $250,000 in venture capital investment could stay in the US for a renewable 30-month term.
A ‘Setback’ for the US
A study by National Foundation for American Policy in 2016 revealed that India’s contribution to the billion dollar startups was the highest.
A few Indian Americans feel if the startup entrepreneurs are not given a favourable environment in the US, the businesses in other countries will flourish while US will suffer a big loss.
Nick Desai, who co-founded Heal, an on-demand doctor house call healthcare app in US, along with his wife believes that it’s the immigrants who can immensely contribute to America’s growth. Speaking to India West he said:
“If we don’t welcome entrepreneurs here, they will create businesses, jobs, success, wealth and tax benefits for some other country. Our immigration policy should increase the pathways for hard-working people from all over the world to come here, not hinder them,”
Wadhwa says that complying with anti-immigrant groups instead of focusing on US economic growth, is a “hallmark of Trump administration”
Immigrants, Crucial for Economic Growth
It’s important for the US to acknowledge the economic contributions of immigrants to the nation, said Ro Khanna, who represents California’s 17th Congressional District.
“In Silicon Valley, these individuals have played a critical role in advancing our region for decades, in addition to being our family, friends, colleagues and neighbors,” Khanna told India-West.
Silicon Valley-based Indian entrepreneur-investor, Puru Vashishtha told Economic Times, “Given the real shortage of tech talent in the US, this startup visa would have been a great enabler. It has the potential to take the innovation to the next level. This move to cancel it is a big setback.”
Focus on Indigenous Engineers Not Immigrants
But not everyone is opposing the delay. Shiva Ayyadurai who is a candidate for U.S. senator of Massachusetts in 2018 told India West:
“This visa creates a brain drain for other countries and avoids addressing fundamental infrastructure issues right at home in America.”
He strongly feels the US is not able to create its own engineers and scientists because of the heavy burden of student loans. He said, “Degrees have become debt traps. Graduates are not thinking about being entrepreneurs, but about paying back loans.”
According to him the solution is to do away with student loans, cut down tuition costs, let community colleges offer four-year degree programs, and implement apprenticeships.