A U.S. Department of Labor proposal to solicit public input on possible expansion of the “Schedule A” list of occupations eligible for streamlined green card processing has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review. The proposal is expected to invite public comment on the possible expansion of “Schedule A” to include STEM and other occupations for which U.S. workers are in short supply. The proposal is intended to carry out one of the immigration-related mandates set forth in the recent Executive Order on AI, in order to promote the attraction and retention of foreign AI talent.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has submitted for federal review a proposal to request public comment on the possible expansion of the list of occupations eligible for streamlined green card processing – known as “Schedule A” – to include STEM-related and other occupations for which U.S. workers are considered to be in short supply. The proposal is now under review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the first step in the regulatory process.
This proposal is intended to effectuate a specific mandate in the recent Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence (AI). That Order, issued on October 30, contained a number of immigration-related provisions, one of which directs DOL to publish a request for information (RFI) within 45 days to solicit public input aimed at identifying AI and other STEM-related and other occupations for which there are an insufficient number of ready, willing, able, and qualified U.S. workers.
Under existing regulations, permanent residence cases involving occupations identified in Schedule A as being in short supply are not required to undergo a labor market test and can skip the PERM application process, significantly reducing the overall timeline for attaining employment-based permanent residence. Schedule A currently covers only certain health care occupations and individuals of exceptional ability, and the possibility of expanding this list to certain identified STEM and other shortage occupations would represent a significant step toward streamlining the employer-sponsored green card process.
Once OMB clearance is received, DOL will publish the solicitation for public comment in the Federal Register and set a deadline for submission of comments. The Executive Order on AI calls for DOL to publish the request for public input by December 14.
After considering the public’s input, DOL may issue a proposed or interim final rule to amend Schedule A, which would provide for an additional opportunity for public comment on any proposed changes to Schedule A.
If your organization wishes to comment in response to DOL’s upcoming solicitation for public input, please contact your immigration counsel.