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At Techstars, it breaks our hearts when we see world class entrepreneurs come to this country to grow their startups, only to return home because of visa and immigration issues. These are bright founders who will be hiring, paying large salaries, paying taxes, and becoming productive members of our society, but they are turned away. This is asinine to me, we should be recruiting entrepreneurs to the U.S., not turning them away! It’s bad for the startup, it’s bad for the entrepreneur, and most importantly, it’s bad for the U.S.

But luckily, there are some clever individuals out there that have come up with unique solutions to the visa issue for startups.

Organizations like the Global EIR Initiative, that lets entrepreneurs, backed by Techstars, work for a state university as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, until they qualify for a permanent H1B visa directly with their own startup. Thanks to Brad Feld for all his work on this organization and this issue.

Or Unshackled, who hires the founder as a W2 employee of Unshackled, in exchange for equity, until that founder can qualify for their own permanent H1B visa.

Techstars is working closely with both of these organizations to help bring the world’s best and most promising startups and entrepreneurs to the U.S. Hopefully the government is listening…

If you’re part of a state or local initiative around immigration and visas, please reach out to me directly or in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you’re doing.

Nicole Glaros
Chief Innovation Officer at Techstars. She’s been with Techstars since its early days in 2009, has run 8 programs and has close to 90 companies in her portfolio. Follow Nicole at www.nearlynicole.com