In the battle for the United States to retain the foreign entrepreneurs it trains, Deval Patrick, the Governor of Massachusetts, has thrown down a huge gauntlet. Last week Patrick announced a broad economic growth package which included what is known as the Global Entrepreneur in Residence program.
The Governor’s proposal is that foreign students who go to universities and colleges in the state of Massachusetts and wish to stay there as entrepreneurs can put in an enrolment application for this program which will be administered by independent state agency, the Massachusetts Tech Collaborative, which intends to develop technology. Selected individuals will then be placed by Mass Tech at some of the state’s participating schools and universities, where they be able work part time and put in applications for US visas sponsored by new employers.
The program is one method by which the state can “accelerate job and wealth creation” according to Patrick. His housing and economic development secretary, Greg Bialecki, told Fortune last week that “the drive behind this idea was international students who’ve come to Massachusetts: they’ve spent their school years here and want to stay here”. He added that there are currently around 46,000 college students from overseas enrolled in educational institutions in the state.
Patrick’s plan is simple, yet addresses a major problem being faced by the start-up community and the US economy in general; how to get entrepreneurs who are educated in the United States, but come from overseas to stay by circumventing the cap on H-1B US visas.