40% of America’s Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants. Furthermore, these foreign-owned businesses have seen a huge increase in income growth up to 60% (compared to 14% growth for native-owned businesses). Immigrant-owned firms now generate more than $775 billion in revenue, $125 billion in payroll, and $100 billion in income, employing 1/10 workers along the way.
Immigration to the EU is predominantly represented by family migration more than work: 10% of yearly immigration flow to France are work-related, and the same goes for Germany. 20,000 foreign entrepreneurs is nothing to the immigration standards (1,4% of the overall EU numbers).
EU needs entrepreneurial migrants that will be able to create new job opportunities for locals. These people would represent a huge increase in the pool of startup founders, job creation and companies in the EU.
Europe is not currently the place that most entrepreneurs choose to start a business, well, that doesn’t mean it has to accept that situation. The creation of a startup visa will send the signal that Europe is open, seeking and supporting entrepreneurs. Better yet, such a visa will also show that Europe wants to foster business creation. This was the case with Canada’s Startup visa, which was created in order to lure entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley.
The difficult part for the EU is now to set the criteria in order to select the right candidates, and to verify that such a beneficial and generous visa will not get abused. Chile, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, etc. are interesting examples to study and pick from. A simple solution that most governments have chosen so far is to give preferential treatment to investment. Naturally, this route is easier; money talks more than a startup pitch.
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