Obama’s executive action to promote research and development in the US

Within the series of executive actions taken by President Obama on November 20, 2014, one in particular affects foreign university students as well as inventors, researchers and entrepreneurs.
Under this executive order, USCIS has been directed to improve the use of the “national interest waiver” provided in section 203(b)(2)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This section of the law, which has been interpreted very narrowly up to now, permits certain non-citizens with advanced degrees or exceptional ability to seek green cards without employer sponsorship (a much easier and faster process than having an employer sponsor). The goal is to promote greater use for the “national interest waiver” benefit and allow more use of this section of the law to encourage start up investments, research and inventions by foreign national in the US.
Further, USCIS and Department of Homeland Security have been asked to come up with a program to allow foreign researchers, entrepreneurs and inventors to remain in the US to conduct their research and creative work even if their activities do not rise to the level of “national interest waiver”. These individuals would not be granted legal permanent residence status (green cards) but will be “paroled” to remain in the US and work on their projects. These would be on a case by case basis to individuals who hold a promise of innovation and job creation through development of new technologies.
As new regulations and guidance are issued, we will keep you posted!