The Federal STEM Plan and the Role of Immigrants in the US Workforce

The US government says that between 2020 and 2030, America will need 1 million more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workers. Immigrants help fill these jobs and the Biden government has a plan to attract them.

The American Immigration Council made guides on the government’s 5 STEM plans:

  1. Matching US companies looking to host non-immigrant J-1 exchange visitors
  2. 22 fields of study added to the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program
  3. Updated how the USCIS decides eligibility for O-1 visas
  4. USCIS policy update on national interest waivers (NIWs) for immigrants with advanced STEM degrees, letters from US government agencies or organizations, or who are entrepreneurs
  5. Additional 36 months of study for J-1 exchange visitors

They also made a factsheet on immigrant STEM workers that showed the following:

Immigrant STEM workers increased from 1.2 million to 2.5 million between 2000 to 2019. They went from being 16.4% of all STEM workers to 23.1%.

While 67.3% of US-born STEM workers have at least a bachelor’s degree, 86.5% of immigrant STEM workers do. And 49.3% of them had an advanced degree.

Over 25% of workers came from India, followed by China, Mexico, and Vietnam.

Female STEM workers remain underrepresented, going from 26.8% of all STEM workers to 27.2%.

According to research, 100 immigrants with advanced STEM degrees create 86 jobs for US-born workers. So more people and organizations should use the government’s STEM plan to strengthen the US STEM workforce, boost innovation, and create more jobs.


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