500 Startups-backed Bridge US launches a tool for helping businesses submit visa applications

500 Startups-backed Bridge US launches a tool for helping businesses submit visa applications

Immigration startup Bridge US today launched its business-focused product for helping companies procure work visas and Green Cards for their employees.

The company bills itself as a “Turbotax for immigration” since it uses Web forms to guide customers through the complicated process. Bridge US works with immigration attorneys to submit applications, although it does have a cheaper self-service option.

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US companies have been known to avoid hiring overseas candidates because of the additional expense, headache and time required to get them their papers. Bridge US charges $2,000 for a typical H1-B visa application, compared to $3,500 to $4,500 from traditional attorneys. Individual applications cost $400 when working with an attorney or $150 for do-it-yourself service.

Bridge US CEO Romish Badani got inspired to start the company after growing up watching his extended family and his father’s business go through the immigration process year after year. At one point, Badani saw a cousin get forced out of the US due to a confusing technicality.

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When I asked Badani whether Bridge US gets push-back from Americans that want to see jobs go to citizens, he pointed out that many skilled job opportunities, such as engineering and mathematics, don’t have enough candidates just from the US.

One argument that opponents make is that companies hire foreign nationals to save money, but Badani argued that it’s actually more expensive to hire internationally. Companies have additional costs for visas, and one requirement of the immigration process is that the firm pay a competitive wage.

Bridge US

Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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