Biden’s Plan to Attract Foreign STEM Talent Recognizes Immigration’s Importance in the Global Economy

January 21, 2022

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration announced today new efforts to modernize parts of our immigration system, remove barriers to legal immigration, and promote educational exchange. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will add 22 new fields of study in the STEM Optional Practical Training program through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, and will implement a series of additional changes to allow foreign students, scholars, and researchers to come to and remain in the United States.

The new efforts will allow foreign STEM talent—international students graduating from U.S. universities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—to continue to make meaningful contributions to America’s scholarly, research and development, and innovation communities.

The following statement is from Jeremy Robbins, executive director of the American Immigration Council:

“Today’s announcement is a critical effort that will help the United States attract and retain talented people from around the world and maintain our country’s ability to remain competitive in the global economy. For far too long, international students, scholars, and researchers have either been shut out of the United States or permitted to come here for limited periods of time only to be forced to return home to work for our competitors.

“As a J-1 sponsor, the American Immigration Council can attest to the value of the Exchange Visitor Program in allowing talented people to travel to the United States to learn about our culture while contributing to and learning inside of American institutions. The Exchange program has been a hallmark of American diplomacy for a generation and STEM talent plays an increasingly important role in the U.S. economy. STEM occupations are critical to the country’s innovation, and STEM workers are responsible for many of the cutting-edge ideas and technologies that create jobs and raise the living standards of U.S. households.

“These long overdue executive actions on immigration will have a positive economic impact and help the United States to more effectively compete in the 21st century, encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, and also benefit the country during the current unprecedented labor shortage.”

The American Immigration Council has a range of research and other resources on the Exchange Visitor Program, including experts available to speak on the benefits of the J-1 visa, attracting international STEM students,  shortage of STEM workers, foreign-born STEM Workers in the United States, business and the workforce, and the economics of immigration.



For more information, contact: 

Maria Frausto at the American Immigration Council, [email protected] or 202-507-7526.

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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