Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action to Attract STEM Talent

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stem talent

According to the Biden-Harris Administration, the United States’ greatest strength is its ability to attract global talent, which has led to innovative breakthroughs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and a global competitive edge. It is with that in mind that the current administration has worked to remove barriers to legal immigration and authorized the Departments of State and Homeland Security to announce new actions providing greater certainty and transparency for international STEM scholars, students, researchers and experts who wish to contribute to our nation’s economy and technological competitiveness. For more information on the actions that the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to attract STEM talent, please continue reading, then contact a lawyer skilled in employment immigration law today.

What steps have been taken to attract global STEM talent to the U.S.?

In an effort to bring the world’s best minds to the United States, the Departments of State and Homeland Security have made the following announcements:

  • An “Early Career STEM initiative” to facilitate non-immigrant BridgeUSA exchange visitors coming to the U.S. to engage in STEM research visitor programs with host organizations, including businesses.
  • New guidance aimed at facilitating additional academic training for undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields on the J-1 visa.
  • The inclusion of 22 new fields of study in the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
  • An update to what evidence may satisfy the O-1A evidentiary requirements.
  • Clarification for how the DHS determines eligibility for immigrants of extraordinary abilities in the STEM fields.
  • An update emphasizing that a petitioner may submit evidence that is of comparable significance to a particular criterion, if that specific criterion does not readily apply to their occupation.
  • Updates to the policy manual of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding the adjudication of national interest waivers for certain immigrants with exceptional abilities in their field of work:
    • An employer can file an immigrant application for a person of exceptional ability or a member of the professions with an advanced degree, or
    • Immigrants whose work is in the national interest may petition for themselves, without an employer, and
    • Clarification as to how the national interest waiver is to be used

This may all sound complicated, vague and difficult for you to parse. If so, you are not alone. In subsequent blogs, we will break down and expand upon what these announcements mean for Institutions, Employers and Participants hoping to make use of them. In the meantime,  please do not hesitate to reach out to a firm specializing in U.S. immigration legal services today.

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If you have any immigration-related matters, contact the Lightman Law Firm to schedule your initial consultation today.

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