President Joe Biden reversed the immigration policies introduced by the Trump administration and came up with the new American Immigration Policies.
Though the previous president of America ‘Mr. Donald ‘always claimed that they favored ‘merit-based’ immigration policies, while the reality is entirely different, their policy team never favored high-skilled foreign nationals to work in the United States.
To address this apprehension, the Biden administration adopted a reverse approach to introduce new policies of immigration on January 21, 2022. The main purpose of making these policies is to make America more welcoming for all of those talented foreign-born individuals.
Let’s discuss all the policies one by one:
1. Improved National interest Waivers for Employment-based Immigrants:
For 2022 immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced new guidelines for the ‘National interest waivers’ based on employment that is considered a significant improvement in the field of immigration.
The updated policy of immigration for national interest waivers is specially designed for the people who have an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering, math, and those who are entrepreneurs.
According to the Biden administration fact sheet, this update will show effective and efficient benefits in processing the request for the national interest waivers. It could increase the use of national interest waivers for the new immigrant entrepreneurs and a wide range of highly skilled individuals who are having exceptional qualities in science, math, engineering, and many other fields.
As per USCIS New policies, frustrated immigrants using such waivers allows foreign nationals to “self-petition” which means they do not need any team member who will sponsor them for their visa or green card. The National interest waivers can also get relief from the Department of Labor’s lengthy labor certification process.
2. Updating the O-1A Visas:
Before discussing the updates, first of all, there’s a need to know what is O-1A?
According to USCIS, O-1A visas are available for those people who are having extraordinary abilities in sciences, business, education, and athletics (arts, motion pictures, and television industry are not included in it).
Under the new policies of the Biden administration, significant expenditures are expected for O-1A visas for the eligible applicants, especially for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.
According to the current fact sheet about updated policy, it is clarified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that the eligibility of the immigrants depends upon their extraordinary abilities such as Ph.D. holders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) fields”.
These new updates in the visas satisfies the O-1A evidentiary criteria in certain STEM fields mentioned as above. Dan Berger said in an interview that “O-1 visas were then most difficult to obtain, new guidance must be helpful to clarify the application of the legal criteria in the STEM fields. While previous criteria were written before internet age”.
3. Expending the eligibility for STEM OPT:
The Biden administration expands the eligibility of STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows the international students to get practical experience of 12 months and also have an additional experience of 24 months in a STEM field.
This policy hinders potential international students to come to America without any optional practical training, because this training increases their potential in the relevant fields, and later on it will helpful for them to obtain employment-based green cards.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on January 21, 2022, that the secretary of DHS made a minor change in the DHS STEM Designed Degree Program list (for OPT) by qualifying further 22 fields of study. These fields include Anthrozoology, Climate Studies, Mathematical Economics, Cloud computing, Data visualization, financial Analytics, and some others.
An Expand in the program of J-1 Exchange visitors:
Biden Administration also proposed two further expansions in the J-1 visas that represent new routes to America for the people in STEM fields. The United States Department of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announced the new policy that is specially designed to facilitate the non-immigrant bridge in the following ways;
- Engage the visitors in STEM research.
- Facilitate the academic training for the undergraduates and graduate students in STEM fields for up to 36 months on J-1 visas.
These changes could be positive impacts on immigrant students. Over the years, the immigration policies are like to fit square pegs in the round holes and the processes were so inflexible that had a great amount of risk in losing the talented employees.
Speeding up the processing of visas:
After the drastic impact of the pandemic, USCIS is bringing more staff to speed up the processing of visas. They started immigration interviews along with its remote mode in a small capacity that will be helpful for immigrants and non-immigrants visa applicants. They are also working on an updated policy from the start of 2022 that will expedite the entire visa processing system.
Increase in premium processing services:
The premium processing option introduced by USCIS allows them to collect extra fees and to process your application in two weeks or thirty days depending upon the nature of the application. Currently, this process is available for only a limited number of applications but in the year 2022, its expansion will facilitate a wider range of applications.
Increase in H-1B visas and eliminate the per-country limitation for employer-sponsored immigrants:
Across the U.S., it is mainly observed that universities are required to maintain the proportion of international students in their graduate programs. For this, the U.S. state department and USCIS must enact noticeable immigration reforms to increase the number of employment-based green cards and the H-1B visas for eligible people and also eliminate the per-country limits of employer-sponsor immigrants.
These positive changes are expected in the year 2022 that will also be helpful to forget the Trump Administration’s hostile policies towards foreign-born scientists and engineers.
- Good News: Biden New Immigration Policies – More Green Card | US Immigration Reform, Jan 23, 2022. Available from: https://youtu.be/YHnD1e6iKmY [25 January 2022].
- The immigration policy of the Joe Biden administration, more, August 2021. Available from: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_policy_of_the_Joe_Biden_administration#:~:text=On%20January%2023%2C%202021%2C%20Biden,living%20in%20the%20United%20States [25 January 2022].
- O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement, January 21, 2022. Available from: https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/temporary-workers/o-1-visa-individuals-with-extraordinary-ability-or-achievement [25 January 2022].
- Key Predictions for U.S. Immigration in 2022, January 5, 2022. Available from: https://youtu.be/ebaDyGrd3jk [25 January 2022].
- The Future of US Immigration in 2021, Jan 25, 2021. Available from: https://youtu.be/T9szKmBNOZw [25 January 2022].