Gov. Lingle Supporting StartUp Act 2.0, Legislation that Creates New Visas for Foreign Students

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Linda Lingle

REPORT FROM GOV. LINDA LINGLE’S US SENATE CAMPAIGN – Governor Linda Lingle, candidate for Hawaii’s open U.S. Senate seat, voiced her support today for the bipartisan legislation termed “Startup Act 2.0.”

Startup Act 2.0, which was written by and introduced today by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), would create new types of visas, one allowing foreign students who obtained graduate degrees in math, science and other related fields to stay in the United States, and another for immigrant entrepreneurs who grow jobs and create companies here.  It also eliminates limits on how many work-based visas the United States offers to citizens of a certain country.


“Long-term economic growth demands that we continue to grow our innovation-based economy, create an environment that is conducive to new business activities and attract and retain the best and brightest from other countries,” Governor Lingle said.

“Many foreign-born students are educated in American universities and then return to their home country to invent new products and start new cutting edge companies that compete with American businesses. That is simply not in America’s best interest. We should be encouraging these innovators to stay in America so their talent and ideas can fuel economic growth and create jobs right here at home.  I am pleased to see legislation in the U.S. Senate that will help achieve these goals, and I am excited to pledge my support for the bipartisan effort,” Gov. Lingle added.

In 2005 alone, immigrant-founded technology companies generated $52 billion in revenue and employed 450,000 workers. Today however, no more than 7% of the visas each year can be allocated to immigrants from any one country.  Immigrants from large countries such as India and China have the same number of visas available as those from much smaller countries such as Iceland and Costa Rica.

In addition to the immigration proposals, the Senators’ proposal would also permanently exempt some small-business stock, owned for at least five years, from capital gains taxes; create a new, targeted research and development incentive for new start-up companies; encourage the commercialization of research started at universities; and require government agencies to undertake a cost-benefit analysis on major research funding proposals.

“As it relates to the STEM education portion of the Act, I am pleased the Senate recognizes the importance of this scholastic focus as this has been an initiative of mine since 2006. Specifically, robotics education has grown from 95 teams to over 450 teams in six different programs. Like this legislation, Hawaii’s success was born through a coordinated effort of the public and private sectors.”

“If elected as Hawaii’s next U.S. Senator, I will put Hawaii’s “people first” by joining in the bipartisan effort to build a climate that encourages economic growth, entrepreneurs – both American and foreign-born – must be free to pursue their ideas, form companies in the United States, and hire employees. Startup 2.0 will create jobs for Americans by creating a opportunities for entrepreneurs to succeed,” Gov. Lingle added.