Overview of STEM Initiatives by USCIS to Attract and Retain Foreign Talent As Explained by the NPZ Law Group

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shared online resources on July 28, 2022, that overviews some permanent as well as temporary ways for foreign nationals working in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to remain in the United States (US). Here’s an overview of what was learned through those resources.

Eligibility for STEM F-1 OPT Extension with 22 Additional Fields

F-1 students earning degrees in specific STEM fields can remain in the US for up to 36 months via the STEM OPT program to complete Optional Practical Training.

The Administration claims that adding new multidisciplinary or emerging fields will help attract foreign nationals to the U.S. thereby improving the economy and technological competitiveness of the US.

The Pre-Doctoral STEM Academic Training J-1 University Students has been Extended to 36 Months from 18 Months

This STEM academic training extension is a temporary initiative (limited to the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years), and students can stay in the US for 36 months maximum or the duration of the entire course of study, whichever is less.

O-1 Extraordinary Ability Petitions have STEM-Specific Guidance

● Petitioners must provide evidence that may satisfy the O-1A criteria of evidence
● A Petitioner that shows that a specific criterion does not apply to their occupation may submit evidence of similar significance to that criterion to establish recognition and acclaim
● Officers will determine if the work of an individual of extraordinary ability uses the skill sets, expertise, or knowledge in which they garnered acclaim.
● Clarification must be provided that acquiring a competitive government grant for STEM research can positively demonstrate that the beneficiary is among the top in their field.

National Interest Waiver (NIW) Petitions Have STEM-Specific Guidance

● The Matter of Dhanasar manages the adjudicatory framework for NIW requests
● A Ph.D. should reflect positively on an applicant’s ability to advance in the field of endeavor.
● Letters from quasi-governmental entities or government agencies that support NIW petitions should have a positive impact on the decision-making process.
● It explains that cases of entrepreneurship involve circumstances that are different than those of other areas and discusses how the Matter of Dhanasar framework applies to entrepreneurs.
● It Incorporates Matter of O-A, Inc.

Guidance for the Visa Classifications: Outstanding Professor or Researcher Immigrant and Extraordinary Ability Visas

● The applicant’s “published material” (or their work in outstanding professor or researcher visa applications) in major trade or professional publications or other major media do not need to be printed articles but can be transcripts of video or audio coverage
● Applicants for the extraordinary ability visa classification may satisfy the critical or leading role criterion with a qualifying role for a specific department of an establishment or organization

If you have any questions about how the immigration and nationality laws in the United States may impact you or your family members or if you want to access additional information about the United States or Canadian immigration and nationality laws, please feel free to get in touch with the immigration and nationality lawyers at NPZ Law Group. You can send us an email at info@visaserve.com, or you can call us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. In addition, we invite you to find more information on our website at www.visaserve.com.