Immigrants Fuel U.S. Economy

Jan 31, 2007


Nearly half of private start-ups backed by venture capital in the United States were founded by one or more immigrants, according to a study by the National Venture Capital Association (

Immigrant entrepreneurs have had their biggest impact in the high-technology sector, where 62% of private start-ups operating in the United States were started by immigrants, the Arlington, Virginia-based group reports in the study American Made: The Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Professionals on U.S. Competitiveness.

Of the 340 private venture-backed companies surveyed, 46% said their founders arrived in the United States as students, with 69% going on to become American citizens.

The survey also examined venture-backed public companies and found that one in four created in the United States over the past 15 years was started by one or more immigrants.

"These survey results show that highly skilled immigrants are significant generators of ideas, jobs, and wealth," says the Chamber's Director for Immigration Policy Angelo Amador. "We need immigration reform that meets our growing needs for these entrepreneurs as well as other essential immigrant workers."

Some two-thirds of all companies surveyed said that current U.S. immigration policy hinders the ability of future foreign-born entrepreneurs to start U.S. companies today.

In addition, among companies that use H-1B visas, 66% said the current cap of 65,000 visas is too low and harms American competitiveness; one-third said the lack of H-1B visas has influenced their decisions to place more personnel in facilities abroad.

The Chamber is pursuing legislation to expand temporary and permanent visa programs for highly skilled workers. It is also pushing for comprehensive immigration reform that creates a guest worker program and a pathway to earned legal status for undocumented immigrants already working and contributing to our economy.

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