By both area and population, Texas is the second-largest state in the nation. It is home to 29.4 million people as of 2020, and of that number, approximately (17%) 5 million are foreign-born. In 2019, the State’s GDP reached $1.887 trillion, and that number is only set to rise as entrepreneurs from all over the world choose Texas as their home base, providing a valuable source of jobs for American workers, and contributing to the growth of their chosen industries and, consequently, the economy as a whole.
Immigrants in Texas
Texas is increasingly diverse and is a hotbed of multicultural activity. Over the years Texas Immigration has become increasingly popular and has contributed considerably to the state’s economic success, subsequently resulting in an increasing number of foreign nationals immigrating to Texas. There are approximately 429,414 foreign business owners within Texas, this figure accounted for 29% of the state’s self-employed residents in 2018 alone, generating approximately $10.8 billion in business income.
In 2018, Texas immigrants accounted for 51% of the State’s business owners in the Houston/Baytown/Sugar Land metropolitan area, 27% in the Dallas metro area, 24% in San Antonio, and 20% in the Austin/Round Rock metro area.
Texas recognizes the worth of the fresh ideas immigrants bring to the table, and immigrant entrepreneurs with the ambition, funding, and plan to make their dream happen need look no further than Texas for favorable odds of success in their business endeavors.
Houston – Harris County
Those seeking to start or expand their business from overseas need look no further than Houston and Harris County. The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area (Houston MSA) consists of 9 counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller. The metro area’s 2020 population of over 6.9 million ranks fifth among U.S. metropolitan statistical areas. The Houston MSA covers 10,062 square miles, an area larger than New Jersey, and its nominal gross area product in 2018 was just over $490 billion, according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Immigrant entrepreneurs played an important role in this economic upturn, since over 100 foreign-owned companies moved to Houston, grew their existing businesses within the city, or started new businesses there between 2008 and 2010. Immigrants and foreign entrepreneurs all play a hand and contribute to the many interesting facts about Texas that make it a state that is so popular for people to move to. It comes as no surprise that over 1,000 people move to the state each day!
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the majority of the migration to Houston has been from Latin America, Asia, and Africa, breaking the old pattern of primarily European immigration. Harris County’s population is over 7.2 percent Asian, 17.6 percent African-American, 37 percent Anglo, and 38.2 percent Latino. Houston’s welcoming attitude towards external business bolstered job creation during a time when domestic demand was challengingly low. Its real gross area product (GAP) is anticipated to grow at a 3.35 percent annual rate over the next 25 years, topping $1.12 trillion in 2040. Almost 1.63 million net new jobs are projected to be gained over the forecast period, a 1.7 percent annual rate.
Government diversity and integration efforts
At the government level, Texas and Houston are deeply invested in the success of its immigrants. Two of its State Representatives, Hubert Vo, and Gene Wu are Vietnamese and Chinese and are both first-generation immigrants. Until recently, Al Hoang, a Vietnamese immigrant, served on the City Council, and the city is open to international trade. It hosts a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce, and an Asian Chamber of Commerce that represents Pakistan, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, India, and many other countries.
Houston’s Mayor, Mr. Sylvester Turner, acknowledges that Houston is “the most diverse city in the nation,” and recognizes the city’s responsibility to provide “fair access to jobs, education, essential services and a voice in local government.” To this end, the City of Houston Office of International Communities, Neighborhood Centers and the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative has joined the Welcoming City project as of August 2016.
The Welcoming City Project is a nationwide initiative that has been adopted by several major cities across the United States. Its goal is to welcome immigrants and refugees, and strategically provide them with the tools they need to thrive in the United States. It aims to make cities more inclusive and provide opportunities for people from every corner of the globe to contribute, both economically and culturally. It will make every effort to provide immigrants with economic mobility, education, language access, access to public services, and help with gaining and maintaining legal status if needed. This effort will require collaboration on the community at large, including leaders in business, non-profit, education, faith, and cultural groups. This collaboration will help to make Houston even more welcoming for immigrants seeking the best possible environment for themselves, their businesses, and their families.
Foreign Born Houston Business Owners
31% of business owners in Houston are foreign-born, and the city played host to the first-ever “Success in the U.S.” conference on June 18, 2016. It is the first conference of its kind and is designed to give immigrant entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed in the American marketplace by holding panels on topics like raising financing, selling to U.S. companies, franchising, winning government contracts, and becoming a large U.S. company supplier. Immigrant entrepreneurs in Texas will find themselves met with ample support, no matter which industry they seek to enter. Immigrant entrepreneurs and investors have thrived in the real estate and energy sectors, but have also found great success in the retail, manufacturing, and restaurant industries, either by purchasing franchises or by starting brand new companies.
Houston is a cultural hub due, in part, to its international infrastructure. The very fabric of the city is knit from diverse communities from across the world, and each new immigrant adds a piece of their culture to the area. Houston is home to thriving religious communities for all faiths and offers dozens of mosques, synagogues, and churches for all denominations. The city’s thriving culinary scene gains its greatness from its diversity, and it offers a huge number of ethnic grocery stores, and restaurants that range from take-out to fine dining, and flavors that will suit any palate. Even Houston’s popular media reveals its acceptance of other cultures and languages. The area has three Spanish-language TV channels, including Estrella TV, Unimas 67, and Telemundo 47. The city is also home to 11 foreign language newspapers, including 9 in Spanish, 1 in Vietnamese, and 1 in Russian. South Asians have an especially strong influence over the area.
Over 1,500 South Asian business owners have joined to form the “Greater Houston Retailers Cooperative Association,” which is a collaboration of convenience stores that cooperate to gain discounts from manufacturers It also offers its members and insurance program, education and training seminars, legal consultation, and more. All of these combine to make Houston a welcoming environment where immigrants can both enhance the local culture and find a taste of home.
Globally minded education
Houston aims to prepare its students for careers in a global marketplace. The Houston Independent School district offers its students the opportunity to learn Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, Nepali, and Urdu. It offers native speakers of these languages the chance to learn English, further helping them integrate into the community and giving them the communication tools they will need as they progress through school and into their professional lives. It also hosts the Migrant Education program, which is designed specifically for immigrants seeking to overcome the language barrier. An increasing number of high schools in Houston require foreign language classes in order to graduate, and many elementary and middle schools are following suit. Several elementary schools are taking language learning to the next level by integrating the student’s chosen language into the rest of their studies for maximum exposure. Dual language French, Arabic, Spanish, and Mandarin immersion are currently available in select Houston magnet schools.
Immigration to Texas – Houston
Houston, Harris County, and several other parts of Texas are thriving both economically and culturally, and the State’s growth and diversification show no signs of slowing down. For immigrant entrepreneurs seeking an environment that fosters creativity and innovation, and that welcomes all cultures and understands their value, Texas is an exceptional place to call home.
Texas Minimum Wage
As of 2021, the federal minimum wage in Texas Texas is $7.25 per hour. It was the same in 2020. As most states raise their minimum wages, Texas refuses to budge. This has been the active minimum wage in Texas since July 24, 2009. However, many of Texas’ major cities have boosted pay, so even though the state minimum wage is in line with the Federal minimum wage, many employers are paying more than $7.25 p/hr.
About the JDC Consultancy U.S. State Featurettes
Moving to the United States to make a new start as an immigrant entrepreneur is a challenging process. Visa applicants face a huge number of critical decisions before submitting their visa application, one of the most important of which is deciding which State will offer the best environment for their business to grow and thrive, and provide the optimal environment for their families. Each State has its own opportunities and industry specializations, and a company that sees tremendous growth in one State might not see the same results in another.
To help its US Immigration Business Plan Clients decide which State will serve as the most advantageous home base, both for their businesses and their families, and further streamline the visa application process, JDC Consultancy publishes brief overviews of what each State has to offer its immigrant entrepreneurs. These featurettes showcase each State’s strengths and provide valuable insight and statistics to help immigrant entrepreneurs make the all-important decision of which State they, their family, and their businesses, should call home.