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Programs to create Chicago jobs

Posted on March 30, 2017

A slew of programs will attract more top talent to Chicago jobs.

Chicago is working with five local universities to create Global Entrepreneur in Residence (Global EIR) programs.

These programs will provide pathways to an H-1B visa for highly skilled immigrant entrepreneurs by partnering with local universities to grow their companies in Chicago.

Participating universities include Columbia College; DePaul University; Illinois Institute of Technology; Loyola University and Northwestern University.

“In today’s global economy we need to welcome talent and support the entrepreneurial spirit that has made us the greatest economic power in the world,” said Mayor Emanuel. “While Washington continues closing itself off to diversity driven ideas and innovation, in Chicago we are expanding our status as a welcoming city with this program, which both attracts and retains the highly skilled entrepreneurial talent that spurs innovation, creates jobs, and drives the economic growth of our City.”

Currently there are limited visa options for immigrant entrepreneurs. Many enter the H-1B visa lottery. However, only about 36 percent of total applicants are accepted each year though the lottery. A study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that Illinois misses out on $645 million annually in wage income and taxes by not retaining foreign-born students after graduation.

During its first year, the Global EIR Consortium will allow participating universities to sponsor 10 to 20 visa slots for entrepreneurs whose companies could potentially create 150 jobs or more over three years, when compared to similar sized programs.

“We applaud Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago for launching this forward-looking initiative. In partnership with the city, we will seek to host between two and five international entrepreneurs over the coming years,” said Illinois Tech Provost Frances Bronet during a press conference at the school’s downtown campus. “These entrepreneurs will seamlessly integrate into design and business programs across campus, enhancing our academic mission as well as economic opportunity for our students and the communities we serve.”