This article discusses immigration options, including green cards and visas, for AI talent and AI professionals following President Biden’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence issued on October 30, 2023.
Biden’s executive order directs federal agencies including the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the US Department of Labor (DOL) and US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop initiatives to streamline the US immigration process for foreign nationals working and studying in the field of AI.
Effectively, the United States is seeking to attract and retain AI talent from around the world by streamlining the immigration process for researchers, professors, Ph.D. students, consultants, and other AI professionals. This initiative is part of the United States’ broader efforts to maintain its leadership in AI research and development and makes it easier for foreign nationals with AI expertise to move to the United States.
Below we provide an overview of the Executive Order’s effect on green cards and visas for AI talent and individuals with AI expertise.
Occupation Schedule A Update for AI Talent
The most significant component of the executive order is the request to identify AI and other STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) professions for possible inclusion is schedule A occupations.
Schedule A occupations is a list of occupations for which the DOL has determined there are not enough US workers. This allows employers to skip steps and streamline the PERM or labor certification process when sponsoring foreign workers for green card through either EB-2 and EB-3.
This part is significant because it represents a big change for the future. At present there are only two professions on the Schedule A list, physical therapist and professional nurse, and the list has not been updated for 32 years. The executive order opens the door for the DOL to regularly update the list based on data-driven analysis.
Moreover, the executive order instructs the US Department of State to develop a process for J1 researchers specializing in AI and F1 international students with STEM majors to renew their visas within the United States.
Update J-1 Exchange Visitor Program for AI Professionals
Furthermore, the executive order directs the US Department of State to review the J1 Exchange Visitor list of skills and countries who are subject to the 2-year home country residency requirement.
This will allow J1 exchange visitors in AI and related fields to stay in the US after completing their programs, without having to reside in their home countries for two years, or alternatively obtain a J1 waiver, before applying for another work visa or green card. For a detailed explanation about J1 visa waiver applications, visit our informative guide on J1 waivers.
Faster and Simpler Visa Applications for AI Professionals
The executive order instructs the DHS and Department of State to reduce processing times and streamline visa applications for foreigners who seek to work, study, or conduct research in AI or other important emerging technologies in the United States.
H-1B Visa Modernization for AI Professionals
The executive order also calls for continued rulemaking process to modernize the H-1B program and make it more accessible for AI experts and professionals in other technology fields. For a comprehensive discussion on hiring foreign employees, consult How to Hire and Sponsor Foreign Workers.
The executive order further calls for streamlined processes for AI experts and their families to be able to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
Other Visas & Green Card Programs for AI Professionals
The executive order directs relevant authorities to make certain visa and green card programs more accessible to AI professionals, AI experts and AI entrepreneurs within 6 months of the order signature date on October 30, 2023. These visa and green card programs include O-1A extraordinary ability visa and EB-1A extraordinary ability green card, EB-2 green card for advanced-degree holders or with national interest waiver, and the International Entrepreneur Rule.
Malescu Law can assist
If you are an AI professional, AI expert, AI researcher, AI entrepreneur, AI professor or AI consultant, looking to live and work in the United States, either temporary or permanently, contact us or book a consultation with one of our experienced AI immigration attorneys in Miami, Florida USA.