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Ask Sophie: Will there be more visas and green cards for AI talent?

Ask Sophie: What are the visa options for a startup founder with family? 


Sophie Alcorn, attorney, author and founder of Alcorn Immigration Law in Silicon Valley, California, is an award-winning Certified Specialist Attorney in Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Sophie is passionate about transcending borders, expanding opportunity, and connecting the world by practicing compassionate, visionary, and expert immigration law. Connect with Sophie on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Dear Sophie,

I saw President Biden signed an artificial intelligence executive order this week. Is the administration making more visas and green cards available to people in AI?

— Inquisitive Investor

Dear Inquisitive,

I’m super excited that President Biden’s latest executive order, which he signed on Monday, seeks to create “a coordinated, federal government-wide approach” to develop and use AI and includes efforts to “attract the world’s AI talent to our shores — not just to study, but to stay — so that the companies and technologies of the future are made in America.”

The most direct way to do that would be to raise the number of H-1B specialty occupation visas and employment-based green cards that are available each year to individuals studying and working in the AI field. However, raising the caps on visas and green cards can only be done through congressional action. Given the gridlock in Congress, that’s become far less likely, so the administration is improving the immigration process through executive action to meet the country’s national security goals and to maintain global leadership in artificial intelligence.

There are many wonderful ways that the “Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence” aims to improve immigration for top AI talent, including making O-1As, International Entrepreneur Parole, and self-petitioned green cards easier for founders; expanding stateside visa renewals from H & L to also include O, F and J visas; expanding the authority for visa interview waivers; streamlining adjudication for AI talent; limiting the J-1 212(e); expanding Schedule A; and creating new recruiting programs to attract the world’s best and brightest.

Let’s dive in!





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