The legislation, created by a bipartisan group of senators, would create an entrepreneur’s visa to allow foreigners who start new businesses and create jobs to remain in the country. The proposal calls for a total of 75,000 visas for immigrant entrepreneurs in science and technology.
The bill also includes a proposal for a targeted tax credit to encourage startup firms to invest in research and development. The credit would allow investors to avoid a capital gains tax when they cash in, as long as they’d held the investment for at least five years. Plus, the bill would make permanent President Obama’s 100 percent tax exemption on capital gains taxes for investments in startups.
Lawmakers are trying to build off the success they had with the JOBS Act, which focused on easing capital to small businesses, the New York Times says. “This economy was built on risk-taking entrepreneurs,” said Steve Case, co-founder of America Online, who joined the senators at a news conference. “It’s important that we double down.”
However, immigration legislation has been a particularly thorny subject of late, especially during this election year. Immigration opponents have argued that high-skilled visa expansions take lucrative jobs from Americans, and are a deterrent for students who should be striving for those jobs.
The bill’s backers hope that by combining popular immigration provisions with tax and regulatory measures, Senate leaders will be convinced to bring the legislation to the floor and avoid debate on immigration policy that might doom it.