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Proposal to Request Public Comment on Expanding List of Occupations Eligible for Streamlined Green Card Processing Clears OMB

A U.S. Department of Labor proposal to solicit public input on possible expansion of the “Schedule A” list of occupations exempt from the PERM labor certification process has cleared Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review and is expected to be published soon. 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 artificial intelligence (AI), in order to promote the attraction and retention of foreign AI talent.

The issue

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has completed its review of a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) 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.

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.

What’s next

The Executive Order on AI calls for DOL to publish the request for public input on expanding Schedule A by mid-December. Now that the proposal has cleared OMB, publication of the request for public comment on the proposal is expected soon. The Federal Register notice will specify the deadline for submission of comments.

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 professional. 

We are closely following developments related to the possible expansion of Schedule A, and implementation of the immigration-related provisions of the Executive Order on AI generally. A follow-up post will be issued when DOL publishes its solicitation for public input on possible revisions to Schedule A, and further updates will be provided as they become available.

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