In the latest Weekly Wright Report:
Immigration Update: USCIS to Expand List of STEM Degrees on July 12, 2023
By Jan Pederson
USCIS has updated the list of STEM degrees as of July 12, 2023 to include the following degrees:
- Landscape Architecture
- Institutional Research
- Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering, Technology/Technician
- Composite Materials Technology/Technician
- Linguistic and Computer Science
- Developmental and Adolescent Psychology
- Geospatial intelligence
- Demography and Population Studies.
A current list of Stem degrees can be found here: DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List
The benefit to employers and students with STEM degrees is that these fields of study, which are considered to be, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, entitle F-1 students in these categories to a total of thirty-six months of practical training, rather than the twelve months accorded to graduating students in other majors. This benefits many graduates who were not selected in the H-1B lottery providing additional opportunities to try the lottery in future years.
STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows America to benefit from the foreign students who train in critical fields in America. STEM OPT permits F-1 students who earned bachelors, masters, or doctoral degrees in the STEM fields to work in the United States for thirty-six months after graduation in their work field of study. These fields are tied to areas in which our economy needs to expand its competitiveness and emerging technologies.
USCIS also recognized that many of the STEM students were of outstanding or extraordinary ability and promulgated policies which would ease the self-petitioning green card process in the EB2 national interest category and in the O-1A nonimmigrant visa category.
The STEM fields of study added twenty-two new fields of study to the qualifying majors in January 2022 in order to ease the process for retaining students whose work in in the national interest.
Please contact Jan Pederson, head of the Immigration Group at Wright, Constable & Skeen at Jan@wcslaw.com for a consultation on how you or your employees might benefit from this expansion.