Chicago Colleges Set Out to sponsor H1B Visas for Entrepreneurs

Washington, D.C.: Amid concerns over H1B visa reforms, and a probable executive order on revamping visa program, a few colleges in Chicago teamed up to sponsor international entrepreneurs.

On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the program launch. The colleges — Columbia College, DePaul University, The Illinois University of Technology, Loyola University, and Northwestern University — will collectively sponsor 10 to 20 entrepreneurs on H1B visas for the first year of the program.

The H1B visas will likely be exempted from the quota of 85,000 per year, as the educational institutions will be sponsoring these visas.

The slots will be filled with those entrepreneurs whose companies could create at least 150 jobs in the following three years.

“We want to see Chicago as a place where their ideas their dreams their companies can happen,” Emanuel said at a press conference, according to Chicago Tribune. “I believe this initiative…is saying yes to entrepreneurship, yes to talent, yes to diversity and most importantly, yes to the future of the city of Chicago.”

Shradha Agarwal, the co-founder of Outcome Health, who spoke at the event, recounted her years as H1B visa holder.

“The first year, I didn’t get the visa. We started making plans for what this meant for the company,” she said. “For the second time round, I did hit the lottery… but it shouldn’t be that way. It shouldn’t be held to such uncertainty.”

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