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Biden Administration Announces Changes to Attract/Retain Talent in STEM Fields

In January 2022, the Biden administration unveiled a series of policies to help attract and retain international talent in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math]. These new policies seek to provide greater predictability and clarity for pathways for international STEM talent, by way of the F-1 student, J-1 exchange visitor, and O-1 extraordinary ability nonimmigrant visa categories, as well as the EB-2 National Interest Waiver immigrant visa category.

These policy amendments include:

  1. The number of academic fields that qualify as a STEM degree by adding 22 new fields to the STEM Designated Degree Program List. The added fields of study are largely new multidisciplinary or emerging fields, such as cloud computing, data analytics, and business analytics.

  2. The expansion of the of J-1 exchange visitor visas program to provide more pathways for individuals in STEM fields.

  3. Increase the accessibility of the O-1A visa category to graduates, students or other individuals in STEM Fields (https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-provides-clarifying-guidance-for-o-1-petitions-with-a-focus-on-stem-fields)

  4. An update to USCIS policy manual to clarify how the national interest waiver in the employment-based second preference category can be used for individuals with advanced degrees in STEM fields and entrepreneurs (https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-updates-guidance-on-national-interest-waivers)

Please contact a GG&W attorney if you would like more information or to discuss further.

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