Bussgang, JeffBy Jeff Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital

Our immigration reform system is broken. That isn’t new news.

There is now a fix for high-skilled, immigration entrepreneurs that can be implemented TODAY with no legislation required. That is new news. And it has the potential to break through the political logjam.

Only 85,000 H1-B visas are normally issued each year to immigration entrepreneurs and high-skilled technology workers. This year, there were 233,000 applicants. Countless others don’t bother applying and simply leave the country after collecting their MBAs and PhDs because the odds are so stacked against them.

With the Global EIR program, pioneered by Massachusetts and Colorado, a model has been developed for companies to partner with universities to allow entrepreneurs to become exempt from the stifling H1-B visa cap. Yesterday, the Massachusetts state legislature reaffirmed their support for the program, which was originally proposed by former Governor Deval Patrick and now has been endorsed by Governor Charlie Baker.

Today, my friend Brad Feld and I are announcing the Global EIR Coalition, a scrappy startup non-profit that will work across the country to help other states implement the program as well. We are going to “open source” our learnings from Massachusetts and Colorado in the coming months. Our hope is that by publishing the program’s playbook, we can encourage other states to implement the program as well. Massachusetts and Colorado have been pioneers in such areas as health care reform, gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana. It is natural that these two states would lead the way in this important area as well.

If you’re interested in joining the cause, let us know. We know of many states that are working on this. The formula is simple: pull together leaders from the business sector, a university and (ideally but not necessarily required) the local government. Add a good immigration lawyer into the mix and contact us. We’ll help show you the way.