New Kauffman Policy Digest Highlights Immigration Policy Innovations at the Federal, State and Local Levels

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) Jan. 22, 2015 – Immigrants are almost twice as likely to start businesses in the United States as native-born Americans, with many of these firms creating large numbers of jobs.

However, according to a new Entrepreneurship Policy Digest released today by the Kauffman Foundation that summarizes several current immigration policy ideas, it remains difficult for immigrants to bring their entrepreneurial ideas to reality in America.

Legal barriers to immigrant entrepreneurship result in lost jobs, lost innovation and lost growth in the United States.

The Digest looks at policy ideas at the federal, state and local levels for how to capture the economic benefits and growth that come from entrepreneurial immigrants, including:

Federal:

  • Creation of a startup visa that allows immigrants to start companies in the United States, and which Kauffman analysis shows could create up to 1.6 million new American jobs.
  • Expansion of visa programs to allow foreign students studying entrepreneurship and other fields to start businesses in the United States during the length of their visa as well as pursue permanent residency.
  • Modification of existing visas so that more immigrants can pursue entrepreneurship in the United States.

State:

  • Creation of university-affiliated programs that allow immigrant entrepreneurs to contribute to state economic development.
  • Creation of state-based work visas giving states a say in how visas are allotted, allowing states to match the needs of their regional economy with skilled workers.
  • Development of clear processes for evaluating training, skills and education of immigrants earned abroad.

Local:

  • Creation of initiatives to train, connect and assist immigrant entrepreneurs.

Read the full Digest here.

The Kauffman Foundation's Policy Digests consist of summaries of findings around relevant policy issues that will inform and educate policymakers. To read the entire Policy Digest on immigrant entrepreneurs and to sign up to receive subsequent Digests, go to www.kauffman.org/policydigest.