If US had today's H-1B fight in the past, we'd never have gotten Elon Musk, says Roger McNamee

  • The Trump administration is eyeing a reboot of the visa program that grants entry to skilled foreign workers.
  • Elon Musk, a South Africa native, immigrated to the United States by way of Canada in his 20s.
  • Elevation Partners' Roger McNamee said the proposed immigration reform is "one of those things that leaves me scratching my head."

A top VC criticized a proposed reworking of the H-1B visa system for, among other reasons, the hypothetical concern that had it taken place decades earlier, it might have kept entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk out of the U.S.

"He's one of those people that if you had today's bias on immigration, we might never have gotten him, and that would be tragic," Elevation Partners' Roger McNamee told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" Monday.

Musk, a South Africa native, immigrated to the United States by way of Canada in his 20s. The Trump administration is eyeing a reboot of the visa program that grants entry to skilled foreign workers. According to federal data, the majority of H-1B visas are granted to tech workers.

McNamee said the proposed immigration reform — which he says is likely to exacerbate the "mismatch of skills" and the downward trend in start-up formation — is "one of those things that leaves me scratching my head."

If the debate were raging decades ago, when Musk was entering the U.S., Silicon Valley might be missing its "P.T. Barnum of this day," McNamee said.

"Elon Musk is the most entertaining, wonderful entrepreneur of our time," he said. "He's so much fun to watch, and the reality is Tesla is an amazing brand — the products are extraordinary."