Executive Action: High Tech Visas
Students or anyone who possesses high-tech skills and is planning to come to the US for investment or business purposes may gain some additional benefits under the recent executive directive. There are also benefits for other employment immigration applicants.
Expansion of degree programs which are eligible for OPT
Currently science, technology, engineering and mathematics foreign students can get the 12 months optional practical training (OPT) period extended by 17 months to a maximum of 29 months. The new executive directive is demanding that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) along with the USCIS extends the program to other degree areas while extending further the time period for STEMS students. It is also directing ICE and the USCIS to ensure that ties are strengthened between the universities offering the degree programs and the companies offering OPT so as to ensure the outcomes from the students practical training is positive. It is also going to be a requirement that ICE and the USCIS ensure that OPT positions do not conflict with the interests of US workers.
Greater use of the National Interest Waiver (NIW)
The executive action is demanding that foreign inventors, start-up company founders and businesses and researchers who wish to initiate research and development while creating jobs come under changes to the National Interest Waiver (NIW). The NIW permits specific non-citizens who hold advanced degrees or are deemed to be of exceptional ability to gain a green card without the need for employer sponsorship.
For those who don’t qualify for NIW they should be eligible for parole status and this should be determined by the USCIS which is being asked to submit a program that will allow the DHS to approve the parole status for researchers, inventors and start up companies’ founders who have been offered a considerable amount of finance already or if there is proof that they will be creating jobs as a result of new technology or research that is cutting-edge. Persons who are selected will be able to temporarily undertake research and development into new ideas in the U.S.A. without having to leave the country and pursue these ideas and innovations somewhere else.
Making clearer what specialized knowledge means for the purposes of an L-1B visa.
The term specialized knowledge has been a part of the L-1B visa program for some time, but it has been difficult to determine what is classified as specialized knowledge. The executive directive on this matter is getting the USCIS to improve on the meaning of specialized knowledge so it can be used correctly so that companies have more confidence in using the L-1B program.
Greater flexibility for "portability" for employment-based visas
When a worker on an employment based visa wishes to make an adjustment of status and wants to change to a different job or get promotion there has always been difficulty in defining exactly what the same or similar job classification really means. However, this is what is required by the USCIS if a foreign worker wants to adjust status. The USCIS has been asked to clarify precisely what is meant by the same or similar job.
Return to Executive Action or read the FAQ for more updated information.