Inquire with Sophie: Are AI Entrepreneurs Now Able to Obtain Green Cards More Easily?

Ask Sophie: Is it easier yet for AI founders to get green cards? Sophie is passionate about transcending borders, expanding opportunity, and connecting the world by practicing compassionate, visionary, and expert immigration law. TechCrunch+ members receive access to weekly “Ask Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off. How is the administration making it easier for AI companies to sponsor employees for permanent residence? Will the number of green cards earmarked for individuals in the AI field increase?

Sophie Alcorn, an accomplished attorney, writer, and founder of Alcorn Immigration Law located in Silicon Valley, California, is a highly regarded Certified Specialist Attorney in Immigration and Nationality Law certified by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Her passion for breaking through barriers, expanding opportunities, and connecting the world is evident in her compassionate, visionary, and expert approach to immigration law. Connect with Sophie on LinkedIn and Twitter.

TechCrunch+ members have exclusive access to weekly “Ask Sophie” segments; use promo code ALCORN to receive a 50% discount on a one- or two-year subscription.

Dear Sophie,

I am interested in the Biden administration’s efforts to retain AI talent in the United States. How is the administration making it easier for AI companies to sponsor employees for permanent residence? Will the number of green cards designated for individuals in the AI field increase?

–All About AI

Dear All,

Thank you for your timely inquiries! In the last two years, we have witnessed various improvements for founders seeking immigration benefits such as the O-1A, EB-2 NIW, and even EB-1A. Most recently, President Biden issued an executive order on AI published in the Federal Register on November 1, 2023. This order included several mandates aimed at attracting and retaining international AI talent.

One of these mandates called for the Secretary of Labor to publish an RFI (Request for Information) by mid-December to solicit input from the public on expanding the Department of Labor‘s Schedule A shortage occupation list. This executive order aimed 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.”

In summary, the RFI seeks to determine:

  1. What types of data should be used to forecast potential labor shortages?
  2. What methods measure the presence and severity of labor shortages?
  3. What is a reliable, objective, and transparent method to identify STEM occupations with a labor shortage?
  4. Should the methodology apply to verticals beyond STEM?
  5. How could you identify non-STEM occupations?

Employers who employ a new or existing employee in an occupation listed in Schedule A can bypass the PERM labor certification process that is required for an EB-2 advanced degree or exceptional ability green cards and EB-3 green cards for professionals.

Prior to the RFI, the Institute for Progress, a non-partisan think tank focused on innovation policy, developed a data-driven method to identify the occupations that should be included on Schedule A. This method, known as the Help Wanted Index, will be discussed in more detail below.

With that said, let’s delve into your questions, starting with your second inquiry first.

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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