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White House STEM Immigration Initiatives

White House STEM Immigration Initiatives

January 26, 2022

On January 21, 2022, the Biden Administration announced new proposals aimed at advancing “predictability and clarity for pathways for international STEM scholars, students, researchers, and experts to contribute to innovation and job creation efforts across America.” These changes include:

  • The DHS will add 22 new fields of study to the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, allowing for an increased number of foreign national students to benefit from the STEM OPT work authorization extension at the conclusion of their U.S. academic programs. Added fields of study include Data Science, Data Analytics, Business Analytics, Data Visualization, and Financial Analytics.
  • The USCIS issued guidance to clarify how evidence will be evaluated in making determinations for O-1A nonimmigrant visa eligibility, with a focus on beneficiaries in the STEM fields. This guidance suggests a more expansive interpretation of the evidence that might satisfy the O-1A criteria for those in STEM.  
  • The USCIS clarified how the National Interest Waiver (NIW) immigrant visa petition can be used by STEM graduates and entrepreneurs.

We are hopeful that these announced changes will benefit foreign national entrepreneurs and STEM workers. As we learn more details on how our clients may benefit from these initiatives, we will discuss with our clients and share here on our website. Please see the full announcement available here.  

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