Most international students have few viable options to remain in the United States after graduation. To tell they want to do that. Instead, many retire and take their training elsewhere, depriving the U.S. economy of a skilled and often entrepreneurial workforce.
New York state may begin to chip away at that problem. Last week, Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul announced As part of the 2024 State of the Union address, he made 204 new policy proposals. The agenda includes a section on creating “new avenues for immigrant entrepreneurs,” which would allow some “graduate and doctoral students…to continue their studies without leaving the state.” It will be possible to obtain a university-sponsored visa that allows for commercialization.
It goes on to say that international students earned “more than 44% of all STEM graduate degrees awarded by SUNY in 2020-2021.” “However, many graduates are unable to secure visas and are forced to leave New York and start businesses overseas.”
In addition to the university-based visa pathway, Hochul's plan would also involve the state's economic development agency, Empire State Development.[ing] Provide competitive grants to research universities and colleges to retain international entrepreneurs who otherwise would not be able to launch startups in New York. ”
“With Congress failing to act on immigration reform or creating a 'start-up visa,' states need to know they can create programs like this as a means of innovation and economic growth,” says immigration attorney and author Tamina.・Watson says. startup visa. “State-centered immigration policies must be the way forward.”
Policies that harness the efforts and energy of immigrants could be particularly beneficial in New York, where “we're seeing a sharp decline in economic vitality post-pandemic,” said the Economic Innovation Group research and policy analyst. Conor O'Brien points out. “Its startup ecosystem lags behind much of the country.”
“New York has a network of high-quality, affordable public universities that trains millions of students with entrepreneurial potential,” O'Brien continued. “Providing more avenues for foreign-born startup founders to stay in-state after graduation and grow their businesses in New York is a win-win.”
Although Hochul's plan is lacking in details, it appears to mirror the Global Entrepreneur in Residence (GEIR) program being implemented across the country. GEIR program To give permission Universities and non-profit research institutes will sponsor immigrant entrepreneurs. H-1B visa. Demand for these visas far exceeds the annual cap of 85,000, and because visas are randomly assigned, many talented people who may eventually become successful entrepreneurs are on the ticket to the United States. It means that you cannot get it.
Universities are in a unique position to circumvent these obstacles. exempted From the annual H-1B cap. The GEIR program takes advantage of this, allowing universities to accept foreign entrepreneurs as employees.
Only a handful of universities have adopted GEIR programs, and some of these efforts are still in their infancy, but some positive results have been reported. Since 2014, foreign entrepreneurs supported by the University of Massachusetts Amherst have started The company employs approximately 1,700 people and has raised more than $1 billion in funding. Eight foreign entrepreneurs based at the University of Michigan raised $15.6 million in funding From 2019. Other GEIR programs include: bring up It sends entrepreneurs to economically depressed cities like Cleveland and Detroit.
“Studies show that not only are foreign-born entrepreneurs highly qualified, but also high-tech startups, venture-backed startups, [and] Recent AI startups. ”
Stangler cautioned that observers should take the available job creation and funding numbers with a grain of salt. “It’s one thing to say, ‘Hey, we created “I don’t think there was a tripartite evaluation,” he says.
New York may face problems in implementing certain aspects of Hochul's international entrepreneurship plan. First, Empire State Development, directed to provide grants to universities to retain immigrant entrepreneurs, has not always been the most effective. wholesaler of the Economic Development Fund. reasonEric Boehm report In 2022, Empire State Development awarded $750 million in grants to solar energy projects near Buffalo. Andrew Cuomo said this would create 3,000 jobs. Only 700 were created.
Startups are inherently risky businesses, and New York's plan could well shift that risk to taxpayers. But it's still a good idea to pave the way for universities to sponsor international entrepreneurs, to avoid major problems in this country's highly skilled immigration system. Other local governments won't have to replicate New York state's grant allocation plan, but it remains to be seen how much that plan will cost.
Ultimately, such programs leverage the talent pool that already exists in a way that may foster further growth and attract more future entrepreneurs. “A group of highly skilled engineers, especially entrepreneurs, are growing themselves and attracting more investment and talent,” O'Brien said. I have written.
“Leverage what you already have. There's already a lot of potential entrepreneurial talent in universities,” Stangler says. “What can we do to connect them to the ecosystem? What can we do to connect them to potential employers in the startup ecosystem?”