MIT grad Paulo Melo (pictured with UMass Boston honors college students), co-founder of doDOC, received an H-1B visa through the Massachusetts Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program at the University of Massachusetts. doDOC, a software company which participated in Techstars Boston, is tightly connected with the region’s biopharmaceutical industry. Paulo is one of 31 entrepreneurs participating in the program which keeps our best and brightest entrepreneurs and their companies in Massachusetts after they graduate.
Massachusetts understands that the H-1B visa program is for highly skilled individuals, and there are none more valuable than the thousands of foreign student entrepreneurs like Paulo who our universities train every year and who want to stay in the US to create the next big company which hires American workers. That’s why, two and one-half years ago, Massachusetts created the Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence program.
To remain in the country after graduation to launch their startup companies, entrepreneurs must compete with larger, established companies for a limited number of H-1B visas allocated by a lottery. The Massachusetts Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence program gives entrepreneurs H-1B visas sponsored by the University of Massachusetts. Unlike private employers, a university is exempt from the annual H-1B visa quota. The university sponsors an entrepreneur for part-time work at its Venture Development Center. The entrepreneur mentors students, performs research and lectures in class. The entrepreneur spends the rest of their time advancing their startup company to the point where the company can sponsor the H-1B visa.
To date, 105 entrepreneurs applied to the Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence program. 31 or 30% of the entrepreneurs were accepted. All received visas. The entrepreneurs attended 15 different universities, Harvard and MIT leading with 35%. Here are the latest statistics:
Visa Success Rate
Dollars Raised By Companies
Employees at Companies
13 of the 31 Massachusetts entrepreneurs have already “graduated” from the program with visas such as a green card independent of the University of Massachusetts. Paulo Melo is soon to be one of them, having received notice of a visa reserved for those who have extraordinary abilities. It allows them to remain permanently in the US.
In Massachusetts, the gate for high-skilled talent remains wide open, because we know that these individuals help to foster talent in our own backyard. Which is why the students from UMass Boston say “Thank you, Paulo.”