The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a proposed rule last month entitled “
Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds
.” The rule adds new restrictions on visas and immigration based on factors such as applicants’ income level, age, health insurance, employment history, educational status and English proficiency. It also adds a 15-page form (the “I-944”) that will mandate supporting documentation on three years of tax returns, evidence of all assets and liabilities, credit reports, health insurance records and more. This rule will reshape our legal immigration system without oversight from the American people or Congress.
These proposed rules will hurt innovation and slow American economic growth, by adding costly administrative burdens for businesses and by making it impossible to hire the high-skilled workers from around the world that most tech and startup companies need. Immigrant-founded companies in the U.S. employ more than 12.8 million people worldwide and account for more than $5.3 trillion in global revenue. Of the 87 unicorns (private companies valued at more than $1 billion) started in the U.S., more than half were founded by immigrants. Immigrants create millions of jobs and fill crucial roles in the growing American tech sector.
Contrast this with the nearly quarter-million job openings for software engineers in the U.S. as of this publication. Demand far exceeds supply as American colleges produce less than 60 thousand graduates in computer and information sciences each year. As Wombi Rose, the founder of LovePop, a pop-up greeting cards tech company and one of the fastest growing companies in Boston says, “Hiring amazing talent is the hardest part of growing any company. You are only as good as the people you can bring on board, and I am constantly on the lookout for ways to find more awesome people to join the LovePop mission.”
This is a common sentiment among entrepreneurs. A 2018 study by CBInsights listed “not the right team” as the third most common reason startups fail (behind running out of cash and no market need). In First Round Review’s State of Startups, 74% of founders cited hiring good people as their biggest concern — even above revenue growth. The reality is that better employees lead to better technology solutions which, in turn, leads to stronger growth, both for the startup and the economy at-large.
The long-term solution to the U.S. software skills gap is investing in more technical schools and training for Americans, but in the meantime it is crucial to the growth of our economy that highly skilled immigrants be allowed to fill these jobs. Highly skilled immigrants are a necessity and an asset to the teams that they join and the economy as a whole. There is a reason that half of all unicorns are founded by immigrants; diverse teams are better teams.
As Semyon Dukach, founder of One Way Ventures, says, “Immigrants get to choose who they are. There’s no going back to where they came from and this gives them the freedom to create new lives and new identities. This makes them better suited to becoming a founder. They are determined, creative and tolerant of risk.” That is why he and other venture capitalists have chosen only to fund immigrant-founded companies. In the pursuit of building a billion-dollar company, tech CEOs must fill their teams with the best people and solve the world’s hardest challenges. Most of these companies can’t function and won’t succeed without diverse teams that include immigrants.
The U.S. is the world’s leader in technology and innovation — we need highly skilled, diverse teams from all over the world to maintain that position as the creator of world-class innovation. Businesses do not need additional paperwork and more hurdles to survival, let alone success. Building a startup is hard. President Trump, please do not make it unnecessarily harder.
If you are a business leader eager to do your part and oppose the proposed “Public Charge Rule”, you should submit a comment to the Department of Homeland Security. They are accepting comments through December 10, 2018. DHS is obligated to read and respond to all letters sent about proposed rules so writing a letter will have the effect of potentially changing the rule or at least slowing/halting the implementation process.
More Info: forbes.com