Category: immigration

Mapped: Immigration by Country, as a Percentage of the Population

This post is by Jenna Ross from Visual Capitalist

Immigration by Country, as a Percentage of the Population

Many people move countries for work, study, or family. However, they may also be displaced by climate change, conflict, or economic instability.

There were 272 million immigrants in 2020, amounting to 3.5% of the global population. Where do they end up?

This interactive map from Our World in Data highlights immigration by country, as a percentage of the total population, using data from the United Nations (UN) Populations Division.

What Is an Immigrant?

The UN defines an immigrant as someone who has been living in a country other than their country of birth for one year or longer. In addition to new citizens or residents, a variety of people fit under this definition:

  • Foreign workers
  • International students
  • Refugees

The UN also includes estimates of unauthorized immigrants living in various countries. On the flip side, tourists, temporary workers, and overseas military personnel are typically not included.

Immigration by Country Over Time

With this definition in mind, here’s a breakdown of immigration by country as a percentage of the nation’s population.

Country19902020Absolute ChangeRelative Change
Afghanistan0.47%0.37%-0.10 p.p.-20%
Albania2.01%1.70%-0.31 p.p.-16%
Algeria1.06%0.57%-0.49 p.p.-46%
American Samoa45.18%30.35%²-14.83 p.p.-33%
Andorra71.35%58.98%-12.37 p.p.-17%
Angola0.28%2.00%1.71 p.p.606%
Anguilla30.59%33.24%²2.66 p.p.9%
Antigua and Barbuda19.24%30.01%10.77 p.p.56%
Argentina5.06%5.05%>-0.01 p.p.>-1%
Armenia18.62%6.42%-12.20 p.p.-65%
Aruba (Read more...)

VC Policy Pulse: Startup Visa with Scott Raney & Sophie Alcorn

Welcome to our VC Policy Pulse series, where we speak with a VC or founder on a policy issue that is having a major impact on the venture and startup ecosystem. Today, we’re speaking with Scott Raney, Managing Director at Redpoint, and Sophie Alcorn, Founding Attorney of Alcorn Immigration Law, about a Startup Visa category for immigrant entrepreneurs who want to come to the U.S. to create a new company. 


NVCA has long supported the creation of a Startup Visa that offers a separate visa category for immigrant entrepreneurs who create a new business, are backed by venture capitalists or other investors, and create American jobs. A Startup Visa is a common-sense way to grow the American economy through new company formation by immigrant entrepreneurs. Far from taking the job of an American, an immigrant entrepreneur can only qualify for the Startup Visa when he or she has created jobs for Americans and has been backed by investors with a track record of success.

While the U.S. has failed to pass a Startup Visa into law, more than 20 other countries—including Canada, the U.K., France, Spain, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, and Singapore—have put into place a Startup Visa or a similar structure. This puts the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage in the competition for global entrepreneurial talent.

On July 26, Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced the Let Immigrants Kickstart Employment (LIKE) Act of 2021. NVCA strongly supports the LIKE Act. Rep. Lofgren’s bill creates both a nonimmigrant and immigrant (Read more...)

The Data Behind America’s H-1B Visa Program

This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist

The H-1B Visa in Charts

The Briefing

  • The H-1B visa is extremely tech focused, with total software developers making up 38% of all applications
  • More than 275,000 applications were filed in fiscal 2021, but only 85,000 will be accepted

H-1B Visa Origins

The H-1B Visa is an immigration program that brings highly skilled workers into America when a shortage of those skills exists in the domestic labor market. The program came to life as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, under the George H.W. Bush administration. Although the program was temporarily suspended for 10 months under the Trump administration, this stoppage has since been lifted by Biden.

Though regulations permit specialized knowledge workers from various fields, it is primarily tech jobs that crowd these occupations. For instance, software developers and computer systems engineers/architects collectively cover almost 50% of all roles.

Competition Intensifies

The H-1B visa is highly competitive. In fiscal 2021, program applications hit 275,000, a 15-year high. The program follows a lottery system where 85,000 applicants are selected at random. Today, that means a given applicant has about a 30% chance of getting in.

YearNumber of Applicants

Although the system is a lottery, the first 20,000 spots are reserved for those with a master’s degree or higher, so those holding a higher education tend to have improved odds.

Roughly two-thirds of applicants come from India. The large Indian presence exists in the sponsor companies list (Read more...)

The International Entrepreneur Rule – At Long Last

It only took four years, eight months, and ten days, but the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) is now set to unleash new entrepreneurial energy in the United States. It is said that good things come to those who wait. But waiting is not enough in policy advocacy: IER is here today due to a sustained campaign of support from NVCA and others across the startup ecosystem.

A Brief History

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed the International Entrepreneur Rule in August 2016 once comprehensive immigration reform was out of reach. NVCA strongly supported the draft rule and recommended key changes. We were pleased to see the Obama Administration finalize IER just three days before President Trump took office.

Given President Trump’s immigration rhetoric, we knew we had a fight ahead. I got a call on one of the final days of the Obama Administration. It was from Doug Rand, one of the main architects of IER who served in the Obama Administration. Knowing Trump was unlikely to support IER, Doug said: “If you want the International Entrepreneur Rule, you’re going to have to fight for it.” So, we did. We received a tremendous amount of help from Doug along the way and without his grit and encouragement we might not have this outcome.

NVCA got to work and lobbied the Trump Administration. We prevailed upon the Trump Administration to embrace IER as a way to spread entrepreneurship in the United States, including pockets of the country that have (Read more...)

A Boundless Ally To Immigrants

This post is by Valet from Feld Thoughts

Boundless Immigration, a company we’ve been investors in since they spun out of Pioneer Square Labs venture studio, raised a $25 million financing last week.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’ve been involved in and advocating for legal immigration since 2010, when, with a half dozen other VCs and entrepreneurs, I co-created the Startup Visa initiative. Since then, I’ve been involved in many immigration-related activities, including the Global EIR program, a docu-drama called For Here or To Go, and direct involvement in helping many immigrants to the US get their visas and green cards.

When PSL started ideating on Boundless, I was lucky to be at the PSL office and participate in one of the extended sessions. I introduced them to Doug Rand, who I’d worked with during the Obama administration on several things, including Startup America and the USCIS EIR program. Shortly after, I met Xiao Wang, the entrepreneur PSL recruited to be the founding CEO of Boundless.

Working with Xiao and the team he’s built has been incredibly rewarding. In early 2017, the US government posture toward immigration took a strong negative turn, and from that point forward, Boundless faced massive headwinds at every turn. Rather than complain or fold up shop like several of their early competitors did, Boundless focused on a long-term vision of being the best possible resource for legal immigration into the US. As a result, their business grew with extremely high customer (Read more...)

VC Policy Pulse: The International Entrepreneur Rule with Yiannis Yiakoumis

Welcome to our VC Policy Pulse series, where we speak with a VC or founder on a policy issue that is having a major impact on the venture and startup ecosystem. Today, we’re speaking with the founder of a VC-backed startup about the International Entrepreneur Rule. Yiannis Yiakoumis founded Selfie Networks in 2017 and since then has raised VC financing from Bowery Capital, Lightspeed, and individual investors. Yiakoumis is originally from Greece and has been able to stay in the U.S. to build and continue to grow his company here through the International Entrepreneur Rule. We spoke with him about his immigration journey, utilizing the International Entrepreneur Rule, and what the rule could do for other founders who want to found new companies in the United States.


The International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), which was originally put into place at the end of the Obama Administration in January 2017, operates like a startup visa and would facilitate immigrant entrepreneurs being able to launch high-growth companies in the U.S. The Trump Administration attempted to remove IER, but NVCA successfully sued the Trump Administration to prevent its removal. The Department of Homeland Security tried again to remove IER, but, after NVCA advocacy, failed to finalize its removal order before leaving office. The survival of the IER opens the door for the Biden Administration to properly launch IER and allow more immigrant entrepreneurs like Yiannis to come to the U.S. and build new startups here instead of in other countries.

Q&A with Yiannis (Read more...)

SESO Labor is providing a way for migrant farmworkers to get legally protected work status in the US

As the Biden administration works to bring legislation to Congress to address the endemic problem of immigration reform in America, on the other side of the nation a small California startup called SESO Labor has raised $4.5 million to ensure that farms can have access to legal migrant labor.

SESO’s founder Mike Guirguis raised the round over the summer from investors including Founders Fund and NFX. Pete Flint, a founder of Trulia joined the company’s board. The company has 12 farms it’s working with and negotiating contracts with another 46.

Working within the existing regulatory framework that has existed since 1986, SESO has created a service that streamlines and manages the process of getting H-2A visas, which allow migrant agricultural workers to reside temporarily in the U.S. with legal protections.

At this point, SESO is automating the visa process, getting the paperwork in place for workers and smoothing the application process. The company charges about $1,000 per application, but eventually as it begins offering more services to workers themselves, Guirguis envisions several robust lines of revenue. Eventually, the company would like to offer integrated services for both farm owners and farm workers, Guirguis said.

SESO is currently expecting to bring in 1,000 workers over the course of 2021 and the company is, as of now, pre-revenue. The largest industry player handling worker visas today currently brings in 6,000 workers per year, so the competition, for SESO, is market share, Guirguis said.

America’s complicated history of immigration and agricultural labor

The (Read more...)