UPDATE 1-A quarter of US tech start-ups founded by immigrants: study

Wed Oct 3, 2012 1:31am IST

Related Topics

(Updates second paragraph to show India provided the most start-up immigrant entrepreneurs)

By Sarah McBride

SAN FRANCISCO Oct 2 (Reuters) - A new study showing that immigrants founded one quarter of U.S. technology start-up companies could fuel calls to relax immigration rules ahead of next month's U.S. presidential elections, where the economy and immigration are key issues.

The study "America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Then and Now," shows that 24.3 percent of engineering and technology start-up companies have at least one immigrant founder serving in a key role. Indian-born entrepreneurs, representing 33 percent of the companies, dominated the group.

The study paid particular attention to Silicon Valley, where it analyzed 335 engineering and technology start-ups. It found 43.9 percent were founded by at least one immigrant.

"High-skilled immigrants will remain a critical asset for maintaining U.S. competitiveness in the global economy," wrote the authors of the study, sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes entrepreneurship.

One of the authors, Singularity University's Vivek Wadhwa, called for a visa designed for entrepreneurs.

"If we had a startup visa, we would have tens of thousands of new startups nationwide," he said via email.

In recent years, the number of start-ups overall in Silicon Valley has mushroomed, as entrepreneurs have found it easier to access "seed" or early capital.

Those opposed to relaxing immigration rules, including many unions, argue that immigrants displace higher-paid U.S. workers in key technology professions such as software engineering.

And while many lawmakers support allowing more immigrant entrepreneurs into the country, powerful Washington lobbies do not want to relax rules for one group without addressing the broader issue of illegal immigration.

Immigration is a flashpoint among Hispanic voters, a key voting block that both President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney are courting.

President Obama recently told TV network Univision he considers the lack of comprehensive immigration reform his "biggest failure" during his first term in office.

Romney has promised to put in place an immigration reform system and has said he believes the Republican party is the "rightful home" of Hispanic voters.

Some 40 million people living in the U.S., or 13 percent of the population, were born overseas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (Reporting By Sarah McBride; Editing by Michael Perry)

FILED UNDER:

Politics

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Fund Raising

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

India looks to sway Americans with nuclear power insurance plan  Full Article 

To Boost Growth

To Boost Growth

Crank up public spending to revive growth - chief economic adviser.   Full Article 

Bold Steps

Bold Steps

SpiceJet rescue plan marks bold bet on Indian aviation recovery.   Full Article 

New Airline

New Airline

Tata, Singapore Air venture Vistara to take off on Jan 9.  Full Article 

Online Sales

Online Sales

Knock knock. Who's there? Amazon's best-selling holiday author.  Full Article 

Hacking Attack

Hacking Attack

N.Korea says did not hack Sony, wants joint probe with U.S.  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

BSE Sensex to hit 32,980 by December 2015  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage