The Biden Administration has made efforts to clarify and update guidance on the adjudication of various immigration benefits.
One important area of updated guidance relates to those in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, including those applying for a National Interest Waiver Immigrant visa petition, which was the topic of Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm’s latest webinar.
The event was hosted by Partner William R. Hummel on Thursday, Nov. 2 from noon to 1 p.m. and was entitled “The National Interest Waiver (NIW) and other visa options for STEM graduates.”
The presentation reviewed the current regulations in effect for STEM graduates and how individuals can leverage the new guidance to explore various nonimmigrant and immigrant visa options, including the potential option to “self-petition” during the green card process.
The webinar specifically discussed:
Immigrant visas (green cards): Permanent residence for foreign nationals (FN) and dependent family members. No restrictions on work or travel. Required before gaining citizenship.
The employment-based preference categories. The five employment-based green card preference categories include:
- EB-1: Priority workers
- EB-2: Advanced degree professionals and FNs of exceptional ability
- EB-3: Professionals, skilled and unskilled workers
- EB-4: Special immigrants
- EB-5: Employment creation
EB-2 Advanced Degree Professionals and FNs of Exceptional Ability: To qualify as an “advanced degree professional,” foreign national must possess an advanced degree and the position must require an advanced degree (or equivalent). USCIS regulations set out the criteria for exceptional ability. Applicants can bypass labor certification process by proving employment would serve the U.S. “national interest.”
EB-2 National Interest Waiver: Applicants may skip the PERM labor market test (expensive and time consuming) if foreign national proves their employment is “in the national interest.” Does not require a job offer and can be filed as a self-petition. Requires advanced degree or exceptional ability. STEM field graduates with advanced degree who plan to work in related STEM field are viewed favorably.
NIW standards: May qualify as either a member of the profession holding an advanced degree or a person of exceptional ability. Advanced degree can mean either a graduate degree or a bachelor’s degree and five years of progressively responsible work experience.
Three-prong test: The foreign national must meet the below three-prong test to qualify for an NIW.
- The proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance
- The FN is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor
- On balance, it would benefit the U.S. to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements
Please contact the attorneys at Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm to learn more about the National Interest Waiver or other visa options for STEM graduates.