In an era where artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping global landscapes, President Joe Biden’s latest executive order emerges as a pivotal point in U.S. immigration policy. Read on to learn more about the executive order’s implications for immigrants and temporary visa holders specializing in AI.
The AI Executive Order: A Brief Overview
Issued on October 30, 2023, the executive order focuses on the “Safe, Secure and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence.” It notably acknowledges the crucial contributions of immigrants, international students, and high-skilled temporary visa holders in the AI sector. A study by the National Foundation for American Policy highlights that immigrants have been foundational in establishing leading AI companies in the U.S., with a significant presence of international students in AI-related graduate programs.
Key Directives and Timelines
The order mandates swift action from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security. Within 90 days of October 30, 2023, these departments are to prioritize visa processing for noncitizens involved in AI and similar technologies. This includes faster visa appointments and potentially easing the journey for J-1 research scholars and F-1 STEM students through domestic visa renewal programs.
Enhancing Immigration Pathways
The executive order directs the Department of Homeland Security to adjust immigration pathways for AI experts. This encompasses clarifying the criteria for O-1A and EB-1 visas for individuals of extraordinary ability and EB-2 visas for advanced-degree holders. The potential easing of National Interest Waiver grounds could significantly benefit innovators in the AI field.
Schedule A and Labor Certification Adjustments
A critical aspect is the potential expansion of Schedule A occupations, which would bypass labor certification for certain professions. Given the lengthy PERM processing times, adding AI and STEM-related occupations to Schedule A could accelerate the hiring of foreign experts, mitigating operational delays.
Adjustment of Status and Permanent Residency
The order also addresses the adjustment of status for noncitizens in AI and related fields, hinting at an upcoming rulemaking to simplify the transition to lawful permanent residency.
Despite these advancements, the proposed H-1B rule presents a challenge. The rule’s restrictive language on degree requirements could counteract the executive order’s intent by limiting the scope of specialty occupations, potentially affecting the retention of AI talent.
President Biden’s executive order marks a significant step in aligning immigration policy with the demands of the AI-driven future. It opens new doors for AI professionals while ensuring the U.S. remains at the forefront of technological innovation. As we embrace these changes, it’s vital for those affected to stay informed and seek legal guidance to navigate this evolving landscape effectively.