CALL US: +44 (0)20 8004 3492

New Executive Order on AI: Attracting Foreign Workers to the US

By Nita Nicole Upadhye

Table of Contents

New Executive Order on AI: Attracting Foreign Workers to the US

On October 30, 2023, the Biden Administration issued an Executive Order on the “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence”.

The Order recognizes the significant contributions, expertise and economic impact of foreign nationals, including international students and temporary visa holders, to the USA, and specifically in the field of artificial intelligence. It details key directives for government agencies with the aim of modernizing immigration routes for workers with AI backgrounds.

For businesses in AI and tech sectors, the Order presents a valuable opportunity to attract and retain world-class talent, fostering innovation and growth.

Key directives include requests to:

  • The Secretary of Labor to look into updating the DOL’s decades-old Schedule A list of occupations to identify “AI and other STEM-related occupations, as well as additional occupations across the economy, for which there is an insufficient number of ready, willing, able, and qualified United States workers.” When a foreign national’s occupation is included in Schedule A, their employer can avoid labor certification and PERM processing.
  • The Department of Homeland Security and USCIS to “clarify and modernize immigration pathways for experts in AI and other critical and emerging technologies, including O-1A and EB-1 noncitizens of extraordinary ability; EB-2 advanced-degree holders and noncitizens of exceptional ability; and startup founders in AI and other critical and emerging technologies using the International Entrepreneur Rule.”
  • DHS to “consider initiating a rulemaking to enhance the process for noncitizens, including experts in AI and other critical and emerging technologies and their spouses, dependents, and children, to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident.”
  • The US State Department to establish a Global AI Talent Attraction Program to meet the demand for elite AI researchers.
  • The US State Department to expand the J-1 exchange visitor skills list to address skills gaps in areas such as AI.
  • The Department of Homeland Security to simplify the H-1B renewal process as part of its efforts to modernize the H-1B program.

 
Additional implementation details have been provided to agenices by the Office of Management Budget by way of a memo.

 

H-1B concerns

Despite the clarity of the Order in directing government agencies to support foreign nationals and temporary visa holders with AI backgrounds, the primary immigration route for highly specialized workers, the H-1B visa, may not, in its current form, enable such progress to be made. There are concerns the H-1B program could impede the potential impact of the executive order by allowing adjudicators to deny H-1B petitions where the applicant’s degree does is not deemed to precisely match the role, thereby making it more difficult to recruit and retain foreign-born AI specialists.

Following on from the proposal to reform the H-1B route, in light of the new Order, further consideration may follow as to the suitability of the H-1B route in supporting the AI skills and talent needs of US employers and the US economy.

 

Need assistance?

NNU Immigration are attorneys specializing in US visas, nationality and citizenship applications. If you have query about the changes in US immigration policy and regulations, and would like to discuss how these impact your organization’s talent mobility to the US, contact us.

 
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.

Author

Founder & Principal Attorney Nita Nicole Upadhye is a recognized leader in the field of US business immigration law (AILA) and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with both US and UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

Nita successfully acts for corporations and professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, actors, and athletes from across the globe, providing expert guidance on all aspects of US visa and nationality applications, and talent mobility to the USA.

Nita is an active public speaker, thought leader, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

Need legal advice?

For specialist advice on your query, get in touch with our team of US immigration attorneys.​

Recent articles

Need legal advice?

For specialist advice on your query, get in touch with our team of US immigration attorneys.

Share on social

For specialist advice on a US immigration or nationality matter for your business, contact our US immigration attorneys.

For specialist advice on a US immigration or nationality matter for your business, contact our US immigration attorneys.