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Why Congress Should Pass the Startup Visa Bill


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Those in Silicon Valley looking to have a bigger impact on the policymaking machinery of Washington, D.C., should take a close look at the genesis of the legislation behind the "Startup Visa."

The bipartisan bill, which would create a special visa for anyone wanting to start a company in the United States, was introduced in late February and is the result of a yearlong campaign by a loose affiliation of entrepreneurs that started with a blog post, morphed into a savvy social media campaign, and became reality thanks to a planeload of techies who traveled to Washington to knock on some congressional doors.

The effort should be a model for other policy issues dear to the hearts of the Silicon Valley. And folks here need to put some muscle behind this bill, which is just starting its way through the legislative process.

It started with a blog post written in April 2009 by Paul Graham, one of the partners at Y Combinator, a Mountain View-based early-stage venture partnership.

In his post, titled "The Founder Visa," Graham explained that foreign-born students who graduate from a U.S. college can't stick around to start a company. Or, if they are here under an H-1B visa, they're tied to the company that sponsored them, making it hard to jump ship to start a company.

From San Jose Mercury News
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