The Stealing Jobs From Foreign Countries Act

Yesterday I was with yet another non-US entrepreneur who is struggling to get the right visa to stay in the US and build his company here. This entrepreneur happens to be from England and his business partner (and best friend since they were kids) is also English, but managed to get into the US because he fell in love with and married and America a while ago. The business partner lives in Denver so they started the company in Denver a year or so ago.

They are a small company right now with a pretty interesting product and vision. One founder lives in the UK, the other lives in Denver. The UK founder travels to the US when he can get a travel visa, but he’s been careful not to get offsides since he’s been in the visa application process for a while. They’ve spent a bunch of money on legal fees, continue to chew up money on travel from the UK to the US, and have to deal with the uncertainty (both timing and functional) around the visa process.

Along with some others, I’ve been trying to get something called The Startup Visa Act passed in Congress and turned into law. The biggest thing to come out of it for me personally has been a deep understanding of how the process of an idea to bill to law works.

After two years of advocating for this, there is extremely broad support throughout Congress for this concept and it has been written into many of the job creation / startup type bills that are out there. But – nothing has been passed. The White House made some policy changes over the summer which have been somewhat helpful, but are still making their way through the USCIS bureaucracy, which means many of these policy changes are not yet being implemented, or people in the field at USCIS have no idea how to implement them.

In hindsight, I realized I’d made a giant mistake. Rather than call it the “Startup Visa Movement”, we should have called it the “Stealing Jobs From Foreign Countries Act.” I haven’t yet come up with the right acronym for it (SJFFCA doesn’t quite work, but I’m sure some of you out there could acronymize this.) Instead of positioning this as a “Startup Thing” or a “Visa Thing”, we should have just taken the same cynical approach to titling the activity that many in Washington do. I mean, c’mon, how could any red blooded America object to stealing jobs from foreign countries?

Every week I am in contact with at least one foreign entrepreneur who is struggling to stay in the US and build their company here. Over the past year, it’s probably been several hundred which represent thousands of jobs and who knows how much innovative, amazing stuff. Hopefully the new USCIS Entrepreneur in Residence program will help figure out how to make the Startup Visa a reality. Or maybe Congress will finally take some action and get a bill passed. Either way, I know that as every day passes, we are missing a huge opportunity in this country by making it hard for non-US citizens to stay here and build their high growth entrepreneurial companies.

  • I can speak for myself here, as I came from the same path 15 years ago. On one hand, if you’re really top of the top, there’s always a visa for you in this country (btw, there are over 90 types of visa to enter, only in US). However, the bar should not be this high and this expensive, both in time and money, the outcome is that complete sections of economy don’t benefit at all.

    Because of it, I was not one of the lucky founders in their early 20s, so I’m at it in mid thirties, paying my way through the corporate world. Harder now, albeit wiser, more experienced and driven.

    Lesser known facts for many / did you know you can’t even write a book in this country unless you’re a naturalized citizen, or the first royalty check gets you a free ticket out of the country, courtesy of USCIS. Motivating, right? 

    There are many more frustrating examples.

    • Re: Feld Visa – no need for that, I just want it to happen! Things like getting kicked out of the country for writing a book are just lunacy.

  • How about BJTA! Bringing Jobs To America Act. That is a little easier, and still along the same naming convention lines as congress. How many employed Americans are we missing out on every time we prevent a foreign startup from taking up roots here. There is really no downside to letting people start companies here. Congress can’t even attack it as taking jobs from Americans because they are creating their own jobs and hiring others.

    I think your name though drives a lot of attention. We could also try Steal Jobs For America. or SJFA.

    • wanderinglex

       Yeah, BJTY! would work 😀 (Bringing Jobs to You! Act)

  • Why this issue has to debated is obscene.

    The US is where people want to start businesses.

    We should have a huge sign at airports “welcome new business owners” 

    • Because of potential misuse,Tom… 🙂

      • wanderinglex

         Can you elaborate on the misuse? Thank you!

        • I am guessing what the government and the politicians are worried about is that there will be 100s of 1000s of foreigners (or ‘aliens’ as the immigration process likes to call them) who will misuse it and come in pretending they are business owners when they are not. 

          So, then the government will have to set up 100s of process documents to evaluate who really deserves this.. and then set up a committee to process the applications and the interviews.

          Not an easy process, in essence..

          • Actually, the Startup Visa process (and thresholds) are clear and straightforward. We’ve edge tested the misuse issue a lot and are confident it would be minimal.

    • Totally agree Tom. It makes me nuts.

    • I was at the USCIS’s immigration summit last week in Mountain View and someone (possible Vivek Wadhwa) said that the TSA should be tasked instead with looking for smart people leaving the country. Instead of aerosols and liquids they should be searching for degree certificates business cards!! 

  • NickN

    “American National Technology Initiative For Unilateral Commitment to Keeping Us Productive” or ANTI-FUCKUP for short.


    • A man after my heart!

  • Mike Grundy

    I put on my e.v.i.l. hat:

    SLAM – SteaLing Asia’s Money
    STAJ – Stop Taking Are Jobs (will work well with Fox and Youtube commenters)
    STOFJ – Steal Tons of Furners’ Jobs
    TAFFFY – TAke Foreign Fortunes For Yourself
    MANPOT – MAke furNers Pay Our Taxes
    SOCO – Stealing Other Countries jObs

  • The “Jobs Expectations  Save  United States”  Act


    • Clever – that might appeal to the religious right.

  • Marcosardi

    Can I play devil (or USCIS) advocate for a minute? How will the USCIS be able to differentiate between legitimate entrepreneurs and applicants using this new visa as a back door? Do I need to remind you that the USPTO is totally unable to understand the validity of a patent, what makes you think that the USCIS will do a better job at not rejecting the entrepreneurs and letting everyone with money come in?

    I came to the US through the visa program, a while ago. It is not so hard, especially if you already have investors. Or are you telling me that the VCs and authorized Angels will be the gate keepers?

    • wanderinglex

       What back door is it, exactly? If people want to establish a business in the US and they have the money or an investor with money, why not let them do it no matter who they are? If the business succeeds, you have more jobs and more money/activity in the economy fails, if it fails, the entrepreneur tries again or leaves – seems simple to me…

      • Marcosardi

        There is already a visa for people with money to invest. Is the goal to lower the requirements (they are quite high, I admit)? Then why not, but we don’t need a new visa for this.

        • wanderinglex

          That visa is only for investors, who are not even allowed to work for the company they invest in. There are plenty of investors in the US, they just need an idea man, an entrepreneur that can work for and drive a new company to success and self-sustainability – that’s who the startup visa is for, in my opinion. These people could even bring investors from outside the country with them – double win for the US…

          • Marcosardi

            Not true. See
            I have seen a lot of entrepreneurs coming to the US to create their company. I’ve never seen visas being a real issue. If an entrepreneur can’t go past this first problem, I would be concerned about her ability to run a business.

          • wanderinglex

            My bad, I was thinking about the EB-5 visa. I totally forgot about the E-2… It looks like it’s the perfect base for the startup visa – it just needs provisions to allow foreign entrepreneurs to use local investors’ money and to be able to get a green card and/or citizenship after 5+ years (the E2 is non-immigrant), plus remove a few of the restrictions…

          • Marcosardi – I respectfully disagree. The E-2 works in some cases, but not in a lot of others. The core issue is when the investor is a US investor and the entrepreneur who wants the visa does not “control” the company. This is the case the Startup Visa is aimed at.

          • Rich

            Hmm… Good point. An entrepreneur is suppose to be able to get past problems.

          • Rich

            “…they just need an idea man…”

            Are you kidding? We have thousands of those here. And you can’t get investment money for an idea. I’ve heard it a hundred times from investors “Nobody invests in an idea!”.

      • Guest

        A back door to a company that exists primarily to apply for visas to bring in more of their countrymen and replace Americans, as the Indian bodyshops have made bank doing.

        • wanderinglex

          Obviously, the visa would be only for the entrepreneurs who’ve secured funding (and their spouse/kids later). Foreign employees would not be able to use it for easy entry into the country…

  • Mike Greczyn

    Foreign Underappreciated Businesspeople driving America’s Recovery.


  • Mike Greczyn

    Stealing Ninja businesses Away From Un-Americans.

    The SNAFU Act.

    • FUBAR and SNAFU work nicely!

  • wanderinglex

    Indeed, for this to gain better traction, it needs to be properly marketed to the general populace – how  about “Job Creation through Innovation Act”? Spin it as entrepreneurs from around the world coming to the US with unique ideas and creating jobs and business opportunities for Americans. That would get people’s attention, for sure, and you also avoid negative reaction by not including “immigration” in the name…

    • Yup – I wish I have thought about this / understood this lingo at the beginning of this process. 

  • wanderinglex

    About misuse: People with money (their own or investors’) come to the country willing to open businesses that will employ Americans – it’s not that hard to keep that in check (if they don’t invest, they get out). How exactly is that bad? 
    The way I see it it’s good to accumulate the most business headquarters in the world, just like China has made itself the factory of the world – there’s no better place to open a factory right now. Why wouldn’t the US want to do the same?

    • I have no idea why the US wouldn’t want to do this. That’s why this issue flummoxes me.

    • Rich

      Why not have them come to this country and partner with Americans? Then americans can have ownership too.

  • How about shortcut act or short-term act? Or, bridge act. Startup visa will not solve the educational crisis in this country but it may put band-aid on the problem. It may also give a false sense of security and lull us into inaction 

    • It’s just one of many things to do. I don’t think that’s a problem – I’m a big believer in lots of incremental things adding up to big impact and change.

  • Ben Huh at Cheezburger came with a great new name and acronym today.

    Relocation of Foreign Leaders to Creating American Tax-paying Jobs Act = ROFL CAT Jobs Act

  • You are absolutely right.  Optics matter.  

  • Swaroop

    Keep up the good work Brad!
    BYOB (Bring your own Business) could be a good abbreviation

  • I was at the USCIS’s immigration summit last week in Mountain View, the first with the “Entrepreneurs in Residence”. It was a great day and USCIS leadership seem committed to working within the existing rules and trying to understand the unique character of entrepreneurs and startups, compared to other more traditional business activities.
    That said, the main problem, and one they can’t improve, is the legislation. One of the points made at the summit by Vivek Wadhwa is that there’s a brain drain going on for the first time in America’s history. Students come from all over the world to get some of the best education in the world. Not only is it difficult for them to stay here and contribute, they are less inclined to do so. Asia now offers many of the benefits and opportunities traditionally associated with the US. Also, there is a slightly arrogant undertone to the idea that “of course people will want to come to the US”. Yes many do, but America is going to have to work harder to attract the best, and in time this is likely to get harder as other countries become even more attractive and America.

    Fortunately though there are still many people (like me) who want to relocate permanently to silicon valley because at the moment it’s still the best place to be in the world for building a startup. I believe silicon valley will always have the edge, but the gap is lessening significantly as other hubs are emerging around the world. By the time the legislators in the US finally deal with the immigration issues it could be too late. Other countries are proactive about wanting immigration, and encourage and even solicit the right people to come. But you’re dead right, to get the support of the public though the name has to change. I hadn’t really thought about it until now, but the Innovation and Job Creation Act, or some variation of it, is exactly right. 

    Some people think that the best and most committed entrepreneurs will get round immigration challenges anyway, and that’s doubtless true for some, but with the general stress and uncertainty over doing a startup, you don’t really need to put more voluntary stress on top by relocating to another country, and going through the multiple levels of uncertainty of the immigration process:

    what type of visa should I apply for?
    will I get it?
    when will I get it?
    how much will it cost?
    what happens if I get turned down?

    All of this distracts from what you ought to be doing, building a business. I know lots of smart and committed entrepreneurs who would come to the US in a snap if the immigration process wasn’t as off-putting. Since I’ve spent more time in the US it’s become immediately apparent how great the Northern Californian economy is. It’s proof that Silicon Valley is both hugely successful and important. By reforming immigration to be pro-entrepreneur it could do so much more.

  • Come on Brad, we all know what is going on. Foreign “entrepreneurs”, especially from India and UK come here, they start businesses, AND THEN THEY ONLY EMPLOY FOREIGN WORKERS who suck the wealth out of the US as fast as they can and send it home. I have personally worked in 2 “UK-founded startups” in USA and have seen how 99.9% of the tech departments are all foreign workers. The only reason they ever hired me to begin with was because they didn’t know how to write a particular piece of software, and I did and then they wanted me to also train their foreign workers in how to do it. America has been bleeding jobs and wealth for the past 14 years since the floodgates to foreigners opened. Nearly all of these people come here to use OUR VC $, and then to ship it offshore via foreign workers. Nearly NONE of these startups ever make it past 5 years and nearly none of them ever survive once the VC $ runs out. The US has lost 28 million jobs since 1998 and there are close to 30 million Americans unemployed. We don’t need more foreign workers, we don’t need more for “entrepreneurs” who haven’t created any jobs in the past 14 years and aren’t about to start doing so now. The gov’t is closing the doors simply because foreign workers and foreign startups have failed to perform. Period. You had your chance, now its time to put AMERICANS back to work. No country in the world has had more jobs stolen from it than USA. Perhaps you can name the new industries India and China’s people have created and then had taken away from them and give to USA for free. Come on, we know you can name them…..

    • Rich

      Wouldn’t having a majority owner American entrepreneur partner fix most of what you mentioned? Am I missing something? Can foreign entrepreneurs come to the US and partner with a US citizen?

      • Under the current immigration laws, it’s still hard for a foreign entrepreneur to come join – or even work for – a US-based startup. But I’m not sure why this is an either or – optimally a foreign entrepreneur could do either.

        • Rich

          Maybe William R. Mosby’s comment, although a bit humorous, is the issue. Maybe we should help the entrepreneurs we have before moving to help others. How can we as a country claim to be ready to help foreign entrepreneurs when we have so many citizen entrepreneurs needing help?

  • Companies ruined or almost ruined by imported Indian labor

    Adaptec – Indian CEO Subramanian Sundaresh fired.
    AIG (signed outsourcing deal in 2007 in Europe with Accenture Indian frauds, collapsed in 2009)
    AirBus (Qantas plane plunged 650 feet injuring passengers when its computer system written by India disengaged the auto-pilot).
    Apple – R&D CLOSED in India in 2006.
    Australia’s National Australia Bank (Outsourced jobs to India in 2007, nationwide ATM and account failure in late 2010).
    Bell Labs (Arun Netravalli took over, closed, turned into a shopping mall)
    Boeing Dreamliner ES software (written by HCL, banned by FAA)
    Bristol-Myers-Squibb (Trade Secrets and documents stolen in U.S. by Indian national guest worker)
    Caymas – Startup run by Indian CEO, French director of dev, Chinese tech lead. Closed after 5 years of sucking VC out of America.
    Caterpillar misses earnings a mere 4 months after outsourcing to India, Inc.
    Circuit City – Outsourced all IT to Indian-run IBM and went bankrupt shortly thereafter.
    ComAir crew system run by 100% Indian IT workers caused the 12/25/05 U.S. airport shutdown when they used a short int instead of a long int
    Computer Associates – Former CEO Sanjay Kumar, an Indian national, sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for accounting fraud.
    Deloitte – 2010 – this Indian-packed consulting company is being sued under RICO fraud charges by Marin Country, California for a failed solution.
    Dell – call center (closed in India)
    Delta call centers (closed in India)
    Duke University – Massive scientific fraud by Indian national Dr. Anil Potti discovered in 2012.
    Fannie Mae – Hired large numbers of Indians, had to be bailed out. Indian logic bomb creator found guilty and sent to prison.
    Goldman Sachs – Kunil Shah, VP & Managing Director – GS had to be bailed out by US taxpayers for $550 BILLION.
    GM – Was booming in 2006, signed $300 million outsourcing deal with Wipro that same year, went bankrupt 3 years later
    HP – Got out of the PC hardware business in 2011 and can’t compete with Apple’s tablets. HP was taken over by Indians and Chinese in 2001. So much for ‘Asian’ talent!
    HSBC ATMs (software taken over by Indians, failed in 2006)
    IBM bill collecting system for Austin, TX failed in 2012 written by Indians at IBM
    Intel Whitefield processor project (cancelled, Indian staff canned)
    JetStar Airways computer failure brings down Christchurch airport on 9/17/11. JetStar is owned by Quantas – which is know to have outsourced to India, Inc.
    Kodak: Outsourced to India in 2006, filed for bankruptcy in Jan, 2012.
    Lehman (Jasjit Bhattal ruined the company. Spectramind software bought by Wipro, ruined, trashed by Indian programmers)
    Medicare – Defrauded by Indian national doctor Arun Sharma & wife in the U.S.
    Microsoft – Employs over 35,000 H-1Bs. Stock used to be $100. Today it’s lucky to be over $25. Not to mention that Vista thing.
    MIT Media Lab Asia (canceled)
    MyNines – A startup founded and run by Indian national Apar Kothari went belly up after throwing millions of America’s VC $ down the drain.
    Nomura Securities – (In 2011 “struggling to compete on the world stage”). No wonder because Jasjit Bhattal formerly of failed Lehman ran it. See Lehman above.
    PeopleSoft (Taken over by Indians in 2000, collapsed).
    PepsiCo – Slides from #1 to #3 during Indian CEO Indra Nooyi’ watch.
    Polycom – Former senior executive Sunil Bhalla charged with insider trading.
    Qantas – See AirBus above
    Quark (Alukah Kamar CEO, fired, lost 60% of its customers to Adobe because Indian-written QuarkExpress 6 was a failure)
    Rolls Royce (Sent aircraft engine work to India in 2006, engines delayed for Boeing 787, and failed on at least 2 Quantas planes in 2010, cost Rolls $500m).
    SAP – Same as Deloitte above in 2010.
    Singapore airlines (IT functions taken over in 2009 by TCS, website trashed in August, 2011)
    Skype (Madhu Yarlagadda fired)
    State of Indiana $867 million FAILED IBM project, IBM being sued
    State of Texas failed IBM project.
    Sun Micro (Taken over by Indian and Chinese workers in 2001, collapsed, had to be sold off to Oracle).
    UK’s NHS outsourced numerous jobs including health records to India in mid-2000 resulting in $26 billion over budget.
    Union Bank of California – Cancelled Finacle project run by India’s InfoSys in 2011.
    United – call center (closed in India)
    Victorian Order of Nurses, Canada (Payroll system screwed up by SAP/IBM in mid-2011)
    Virgin Atlantic (software written in India caused cloud IT failure)
    World Bank (Indian fraudsters BANNED for 3 years because they stole data).

    I could post the whole list here but I don’t want to crash any servers.

  • Here is what “foreign workers” are really doing to America:

    “From: “Rajesh Kumar Ramachandran
    Subject: Listen to me A******!!

    Date: Wed, 19 May 2010 20:49:20 -0700 (PDT)

    Now listen carefully to me a******.. dont just bark around in the corner like a rabies stricken stray dog about your pathetic views about politics and jobs. If your insecure about your skills and abilities thats your f****** problem not Indians or any other politicians.. Well you want me to provoke you well then hear this, we are gonna take all your jobs away.. we gonna make sure that you dont even have money to buy s*** and eat, we gonna take evrything thatwas yours.. we gonna drape the Statue of Liberty with a saree (you dont know wahta saree iis, well its a dress which Indian women wear).. now get your f****** stinking face out of here A******!!!!!”

  • Rich

    I always see things differently so…

    I think for every foreign entrepreneur we have one thousand entrepreneurs here that are trying to start a business. Let’s help the ones we already have. They are here and asking for help! I guess what I’m saying is why pass up helping those people?

    That being said, I don’t understand why everyone can’t see the opportunity. The world has gone global. So, can’t foreign entrepreneurs can come here on a visa, start a business with a local entrepreneur and then expand the business in the country the foreign entrepreneur came from when that entrepreneur goes back? Wouldn’t that make it easier for the foreign entrepreneur to return on trips pertaining to company needs?

    Isn’t that the best approach? You get two entrepreneurs working to make a US business successful. The foreign entrepreneur gets what they want a US business. The US enterpreneur gets what they want a US business. Everyone is happy.

    Brad, help me out. The foreign entrepreneur understands their country. The local entrepreneur understands this country. Why would a business not want to take advantage of that knowledge by having offices in two countries run by the person who knows those regions best?

    Also, I think US citizens want ownership not jobs. People take jobs because they can’t get funds or other help to make a business successful.

    Don’t get me wrong I want people to be able to become citizens of this great country. But, is there a bigger opportunity that is being missed?

    • Rich

      Anyone have any insight on my questions?

    • Why is there a constraint in your mind that a foreign entrepreneur should have to partner with a US entrepreneur? 

      Furthermore, a mismatch between partners is often one of the leading causes of death of a startup. I’m not sure what benefit this is to either party.

      Of course, if two people want to partner up, and one is foreign, that’s awesome, but I simply don’t understand what you are suggesting here.

      • Rich

        I’m suggesting that partnering with a citizen entrepreneur would prevent problems that arise from a *single* foreign founder having to leave due to visa issues. There would still be a founder here to carry on the business.

  • Mark G


  • vskalyan

    How about –
    New Jobs in America (NJA)
    New Businesses in America (NBA)
    New Businesses for America (NBA)

  • @bfeld:disqus  As a Sendgrid employee that was kicked out of Boulder this past month I definitely feel this pain. Capriciously my H1-B got denied with no clear explanation.

    Brad B. from Silicon Flatirons wrote this great post about it.

    I’ve also been helping the entrepreneurs at Blueseed (Peter Thiel backed initiative) as much as possible and am faithful that sometime in 2012 I’ll be able to come back.

    The new Thomas Friedman book is spot on this question. If there’s anything I can do to help any effort please let me know.



    • I just tweeted out the post and send one of my friends at the White House this link. This breaks my heart and makes me so incredibly frustrated.

      • Rich

        I’m not a VC and have limited investing knowledge.

        If Pedro, a foreign entrepreneur, had to leave and close up shop. Would it not have been better for him to partner with an American entrepreneur? This way the business would not have to close.

        See my other post for some more questions.

        • Pedro was an employee at SendGrid. SendGrid was founded by US entrepreneurs.

      • My brother and his wife were thrown out of the country.   They were thrown out – no explanation at all, just no renewal of visa.  Despite the facts that (a) they had 7 degrees between them in information science,(!) and (b) all the rest of his family (both brothers – both now US citizen – and his mother were living in the US). He had a business so they moved it over the border to Canada, where his wife is from where they were gratefully received.  Pathetic.

    • Rich

      I agree with Brad. It’s a bummer to see this happen. Please Pedro help American entrepreneurs starting businesses so we can bring you back to the United States.

      I was looking for funding for a year to do a startup, but was unsuccessful at finding any resources. If you have any connections to startup funding please let me know. I could use a good professional on my team.

  • So is there something wrong with citizen entrepreneurs, are we using so much of our potential in that regard that we have run out of them and have to import more, or what?

    • Rich

      lol… No we have plenty of citizen entrepreneurs. There are many who can’t get the funding or help they need. It would take a million Brads to help all the citizen entrepreneurs we have.

  • shingceng

    There is a Q/A on avvo about using IP valuation to satisfy e2 visa investment requirement, what’s your idea about the answer given by attorny Gabriel Jack:

    • It seems reasonable.

      • shingceng


        Do you have any idea if the same argument can be extend to eb5 visa or why not?

        For example if a foreign founder share valuation passes $1M (required by eb5) then he/she can get an eb5 green card. It is already 2 years conditional.

        If the same argument can be applied to eb5 visa then functionally it can be as good as proposed startup visa.

        • I’m skeptical it will work.

          • shingceng

            Maybe this is the right place to hit in immigration system. It looks reasonable to work.

  • Pingback: Support Startup Act 2.0 | Robbie Abed's Personal Blog()

  • Pingback: โหลดหนังโป๊()

  • Pingback: i need cheap auto insurance()

  • Pingback: how much is car insurance()

  • Pingback: affordable car insurance in new jersey()

  • Pingback: cheap seo services()