Government updates STEM visa requirements

Government updates STEM visa requirements

On Behalf of | May 2, 2022 | Immigration |

The science, technology, engineering, and math fields are critical for this country’s economy, health, and security. In Jan., the federal government announced new actions to make the visa process more predictable and clearer for international STEM scholars, students, researchers, and experts who seek to enter this country.

Early career STEM research initiative

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced this immigration initiative to help non-immigrant Bridge USA exchange visitors coming to this country to participate in STEM research by engaging in research, training or educational exchange visitor programs with businesses and other hosting groups.

ECA also announced new rules that will assist with additional academic training for undergraduate and graduate students with a J-1 visa and engaged in STEM fields for up to 36 months.

Added fields

Twenty-two additional fields of study will be added to the STEM optional practical training program as part of the student and exchange visitor program. This program allows F-1 students obtaining degrees in certain STEM fields to stay in this country for up to 36 months to finish optional practical training after obtaining their degrees.

The added fields include emerging and new multidisciplinary fields. These are considered essential for attracting talent in this country to support economic growth and competitiveness in technology.

An applicant may, if particular standards do not apply to their occupation, submit evidence to establish that occupation qualifies for comparable acclaim and recognition.

Immigrants with exceptional abilities

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, an employer may file an immigrant petition for an individual possessing exceptional ability or a member of a profession with an advanced degree. The USCIS may waive the job offer requirement for immigrants who engage in work which is in the national interest. These immigrants can file petitions on their own and without an employer.

These policy updates clarify the use of the national interest waiver by persons with advanced degrees in STEM fields and entrepreneurs. The updates also detail the significance of letters from government and quasi-government bodies.

The immigration process may be daunting but have important consequences. Attorneys can assist applicants and help assure that their legal rights are protected.