What Would the LIKE Act Do?
On July 26, 2021, US Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California introduced H.R. 4681, also known as the Let Immigrants Kickstart Employment (LIKE) Act. The bill rewards immigrants who want to establish and develop venture-capital backed start-up companies in the United States in the hopes that this will lead to economic growth and create jobs for workers.
According to Congresswoman Lofgren, start-ups create 3 million new jobs every year, more than four times as many jobs as mature companies.
As of right now, there are few visa options for immigrants who would like to start new ventures in the United States. The LIKE Act would create a temporary visa to bridge this gap.
“For the world’s best and brightest innovators seeking a home for their companies, America used to be the top destination. Sadly, that has changed. Today, the technology sector in Canada is growing at a faster pace than it is in America, and it is almost entirely because of restrictive US immigration polices that do not benefit our economic interests. Congress can change that. We can make the United States more prosperous by passing bills like the LIKE Act that stimulate the economy, curb brain drain, create jobs for American workers, and restore our country’s standing as the number-one choice for the next generation of entrepreneurs worldwide.” -Zoe Lofgren
The LIKE Act would create temporary new visas for immigrants who meet the following criteria.
- They possess an ownership interest in a start-up entity that has received a requisite amount of qualifying investments or government awards or grants;
- They will play a central and active role in the management or operations of the entity; and
- They possess the knowledge, skills, or experience to substantially assist the entity with its growth and success.
Recipients would be able to receive 5-year extensions on their temporary status if they retained an ownership interest in the start-up entity and the entity meets certain growth-related benchmarks such as job creation and revenue generation.
This visa would also provide a pathway for a green card if the founder demonstrates a proven track record of success in business development.
The bill has been introduced in the House and is currently with the Committee on the Judiciary.
The LIKE Act is supported by the National Venture Capital Association, the Center for American Entrepreneurship, FWD.us, Engine, TechNet, the New American Economy, the Economic Innovation Group, and the Federation of American Scientists.
This bill has yet to pass, but if it does it could represent an outstanding opportunity for many immigrants who wish to partake of the American Dream.
Realizing Your Dreams for a New Life in the United States