Moran files startup-backed amendment to immigration bill

“The immigration debate is an opportunity to create jobs for Americans by making certain highly-skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants are able to start new businesses and contribute to the growth of U.S. companies,” Moran said in a statement. “If we miss this opportunity, we risk losing the next generation of great entrepreneurs and the jobs they will create."

Moran's amendment proposes to amend the bill so it would allow family members of entrepreneurs, such as parents and children, to invest in their startup companies.  It would also strip a measure in the bill that would require entrepreneurs to submit a business plan to the government.

The amendment also intends to make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to earn green cards. It proposes to increase the points awarded for entrepreneurship so startup founders have an easier time qualifying for merit-based visas. The measure would also lower the investment and revenue thresholds that startups need to meet in order for their founders to qualify for a visa.

Moran's amendment aims to make clear that entrepreneur visas are ultimately aimed at creating more jobs for American workers. To this end, it would amend the bill so it explicitly states that startup founders must create jobs for U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents in order to qualify for the new entrepreneur visas.

The amendment has been endorsed by several organizations that represent startup companies, such as Engine Advocacy and Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

The Senate began consideration of the immigration bill this week and is teeing up votes on a series of proposed changes to the measure.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the Gang of Eight senators who crafted the bill, also filed several tech-focused amendments. His amendments would place a hard cap on H-1B visas so the maximum limit reached is 180,000, and also exempt public universities from a ban on displacing American workers when they hire H-1B employees.