The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is making strides towards reshaping the landscape of immigration by seeking public input on potential revisions to the list of Schedule A job classifications exempt from permanent labor certifications. This move is in alignment with President Biden’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence.
In a recent Request for Information (RFI) published by the DOL, the public, including industry and worker-advocate communities, is invited to contribute insights. The focus extends beyond traditional classifications, reaching into the realms of artificial intelligence (AI) and other STEM-related occupations. The goal is to identify areas across the economy facing shortages of qualified U.S. workers.
The RFI serves as a platform for public input on establishing a reliable, objective, and transparent methodology to address national labor shortages, all while adhering to the Immigration and Nationality Act. The DOL encourages written comments from the public, to be submitted in response to the request following its publication in the Federal Register.
Building upon the momentum generated by recent White House AI Executive Orders, the DOL’s initiative goes further. It specifically seeks input on the possible expansion of Schedule A to include STEM occupations experiencing labor shortages, potentially even extending to non-STEM occupations. Such a move would exempt employers from exhaustive recruitment campaigns, streamlining the process for sponsoring individuals for U.S. permanent residence.
Publication in Schedule A would empower employers to bypass the ETA-9089 filing with the DOL, going directly to the I-140 filing with USCIS upon receipt of a prevailing wage determination. This not only eases the burden on both employers and employees in shortage occupations but also holds the promise of reducing the workload at the DOL, potentially leading to shorter processing times.
As the DOL opens a 60-day window for comments on this groundbreaking initiative after its publication in the Federal Register, stakeholders are encouraged to participate in shaping the future of immigration processes in the United States. Stay tuned for updates and insights as we navigate these transformative developments in immigration law.