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The end of January 2022 saw the US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) update its policy regarding national interest waivers, notably for advanced degree professionals or for persons of exceptional ability.

The policy changes describe how the waiver can be utilised for entrepreneurs and graduates interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

The US Immigration & Nationality Act (INA) states an employer can file for an immigration petition for worker that hold exceptional ability or in possession of an advance degree. Usually this process begins with the obtaining of a labour certification which demonstrates there are no qualified US workers available for the position.

However the USCIS are able to waive the requirement of a job offer and labour certificate if the proposal is in national interest, essentially allowing immigrants to petition without an employer.

While demonstrating evidence of ability and/or an advanced degree, the individual must also meet three conditions:

  1. The proposed endeavour must have both substantial merit and national importance
  2. The individual must be well positioned to advance the said endeavour
  3. It is beneficial for the US to waive the job offer and labour certification

With a focus on national security and emerging tech the USCIS recognizes the importance of STEM fields and degrees and will address a list of published subfields in order to demonstrate the STEM endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.
In terms of the second requirement, the individual’s education and skillset will be relevant to whether the individual is well-positioned to advance the endeavor.

Finally, USCIS will place emphasis on the endeavor that has potential to support U.S. national security or enhance U.S. economic competitiveness or if the petition is supported by interested U.S. government agencies.

The new update also considers the fact that many entrepreneurs do not follow the traditional timeline as those in more technical fields such as STEM, and as such, entrepreneur petitioners may submit the following types of evidence to establish that the endeavor has substantial merit and national importance:

  • Evidence of Ownership and Role in the U.S.-Based Entity;
  • Degrees, Certificates, Licenses, Letters of Experience;
  • Investments;
  • Incubator or Accelerator Participation;
  • Awards or Grants;
  • Intellectual Property;
  • Published Materials about the Petitioner, the Petitioner’s U.S.-Based Entity or Both;
  • Revenue Generation, Growth in Revenue, and Job Creation;
  • Letters and Other Statements from Third Parties such as relevant government entities, outside investors, or established business associations with knowledge of the research, products or services developed by the petitioner, the petitioner’s entity, or both; or the petitioner’s knowledge, skills, or experience that would advance the proposed endeavor.

The source for this blog can be found here.

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