President issues Executive Order on AI with Immigration Provisions

President Issues EO on AI proposing immigration changes

On October 30, 2023, President Biden issued an Executive Order (EO) with several implications for the security, innovation, and advancement of artificial intelligence (AI). This directive encompasses key immigration provisions aimed at attracting and retaining international AI expertise. Among key recommendations:

An assessment and initiation of policy amendments deemed necessary to refine and modernize immigration avenues. This includes those for noncitizens of extraordinary ability under O-1A and EB-1, advanced-degree holders within EB-2 worker categories, exceptional ability individuals, and startup founders utilizing the International Entrepreneur Rule;

The continuation of the H-1B program’s modernization efforts, with a focus on its integrity and effectiveness, particularly for AI specialists and other significant tech fields;

A directive for the Department of Labor to seek public engagement within 45 days to investigate potential updates to the “Schedule A” list of occupations, enhancing the employment-based immigration system and allowing categories connected to AI and other critical emerging technologies to possibly skip the Labor Certification process;

A directive for the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security to leverage their discretionary powers to support and draw in foreign nationals with exceptional skills in AI and other critical and emerging technologies for work, study, or research in the United States.

Further, the EO contemplates adjustments to the J-1 exchange visitor program, which may affect the stipulations surrounding the two-year home-country residency requirement, potentially modifying the landscape of opportunities for AI talents in the U.S.

Moreover, DHS, along with other agencies, is tasked with developing resources to assist AI experts in navigating the U.S. work environment. This includes the publication of data on immigration petitions for AI professionals through the end of Fiscal Year 2023.

These initiatives reflect a strategic commitment to facilitate and expand the entry of global AI talent into the U.S. workforce, thereby reinforcing the nation’s position at the forefront of technological innovation.

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