Why immigration is crucial for the US STEM industry


In an increasingly technology-driven economy, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) roles are growing rapidly in the United States. According to The LinkedIn report Among the 25 fastest-growing jobs in the United States today, the STEM industry has boomed over the past two decades and paved the way for new roles that go beyond just computer science or software engineering.

With increased industry-wide demand and the emergence of highly skilled positions that require the world’s best talent, this is where immigration comes in. To stand out in a competitive market, more In addition to companies in the STEM sector hiring internationally and taking advantage of the many work visas available in the US immigration system. Here’s how businesses can take advantage of recent government policies and help more foreign workers in STEM fields jump-start their careers in the United States.

New and improved opportunities for STEM students and interns

In recent years, the Biden administration has taken steps to boost the nation’s STEM talent through international exchange programs. In January 2022, the Department of State (DOS) announcement several measures aimed at increasing the flow of talent into STEM fields to support the U.S. economy.

One of the most important measures announced was the creation of the Early Career STEM Research Initiativewho links J-1 Visa Program sponsors U.S. companies that fill STEM-related training or research positions. The DOS has also launched new initiatives to foster international collaboration in the STEM industry, particularly for women in STEM And international interns work in scientific laboratories in the United States

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Updated immigration rules mean more visa approvals for STEM workers

In addition to initiatives that attract more STEM students and interns, more foreign workers in the STEM industry are now pending approval for green cards, according to the latest data from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The uptick in green card approvals comes after USCIS changed its eligibility criteria for two visa categories available to STEM workers: O-1A visas (for those who have extraordinary abilities or achievements in their field) And EB-2 visa with a renunciation of national interest. Updated USCIS guidelines have made the eligibility requirements for each visa type much clearer and allowed more STEM workers to pursue other immigration options that may not have been available to them previously.

When asked about the increase in STEM green card approvals, Doug Rand, senior advisor to the USCIS Director, said This change represents a welcome improvement to the business immigration system. “The more people know about things like O-1A and the National Interest Waiver (EB-2), the more they will want to take advantage of it.”

In the first year of the revised guidelines, the number of O-1A visas approved jumped nearly 30 percent. The number of STEM EB-2 visas issued with national interest waivers also increased by 55% from the previous year.

The updated guidelines mean that a higher percentage of the world’s top tech talent are able to establish their lives and careers in the United States, transforming America’s STEM industry for the better. “I see more and more aspiring and early-stage startup founders believing that there is a path forward for them,” said Sophie Alcorn, an immigration lawyer working in Silicon Valley. Alcorn says the policy changes will lead to “new tech startups that would not have been created otherwise.”

An immigrant submits biometric data

The rise of AI: how immigration fits into it

In the United States, the STEM industry has experienced a wave of transformation with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI). Over the past decade, AI has become an integral component of various STEM sectors, revolutionizing processes, research and innovation.

As AI continues to evolve, its role in the future of STEM industries in the United States becomes increasingly important, enabling a new era of technological advancement and scientific exploration.

In November 2023, President Biden signed an executive order on AI to address this growing industry and make it easier for U.S. companies to attract foreign AI talent. The executive order included a series of proposals to reduce barriers to STEM immigration, including the creation of a “Global AI Talent Attraction Program,” streamlined visa services for STEM workers, as well as the updating and expanding the J-1 exchange visitor skills list to include more AI-focused roles.

You can learn more about Biden’s executive order on AI and how it can help improve the STEM industry by Message from Boundless.

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