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Funding to Help Talent Move to Opportunity
The Talent Mobility Fund is a new philanthropic fund focused on helping talent move to opportunity through the increased use of existing immigration pathways.

Increasing the ability of people to move and work where they want is important for a range of societal goals, including:

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Spurring economic growth and innovation
Seminal research in global development  suggests that loosening barriers to mobility could lead to a massive 50% increase in world GDP.
Expanding the frontier of human knowledge and capabilities
A recent estimate by a team of Stanford economists attributes almost a quarter of all US innovation since 1976 to high-skilled, foreign-born individuals.
Promoting equity and economic mobility
Global mobility generates income increases of several hundreds of percent. For example, migrants from Tonga to New Zealand increased their income by 263% one year after migration.
Addressing demographic decline
High-income countries are facing an acute worker shortage, requiring an estimated
400 million
new working-age adults to sustain the current ratio of working aged to retired adults by 2050.
Our Thesis

Through increased use of existing legal immigration pathways, we can empower more immigrants to move and work where they want. 

This is possible under current law.

Existing, legal pathways—like the O-1 visa, Germany’s Skilled Immigration Act, and other pathways in the U.S. and globally—can be used to significantly increase the ability of talent to move to opportunity.
Ready to Apply
The Fund is launching with two Fast Grants Challenges: 
Global Mobility track
Our Global Mobility track to leverage diverse immigration pathways in OECD countries to address global challenges such as demographic decline, workforce shortages, and poverty.
Coming Soon...
Want to support talent mobility? 

The Talent Mobility Fund is funded by a number of generous donors. We are looking for additional individual donors or institutions to join the Fund.

Are you a potential donor interested in learning more about the Fund? Schedule time with our team here.

Learn More
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is working on this? 

Amy Nice—Fund Lead
Amy has worked on immigration law and policy issues for over 35 years. Most recently, she was the Biden administration’s lead on STEM immigration policy, where she led key reforms to attract and retain global STEM talent, developing four new agency actions that impact the O-1, EB-1, J-1, and National Interest Waiver (NIW). Amy served in the Office of General Counsel in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and was executive director of immigration policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Before moving to policy work in 2010, Amy practiced immigration law at Dickstein Shapiro in DC, where she developed broad-based business immigration expertise.

Jason Wendle–Global Mobility Lead
Jason is a Managing Director at the Global Development Incubator with over 20 years of experience designing and building social ventures. His portfolio at GDI spans across migration, youth employment, anti-trafficking, and education and includes some of the world’s most advanced global mobility innovators. He recently founded The Migration Opportunity, an initiative to help stand up an emerging field to enable people to move for opportunity.

Julia Garayo Willemyns–Operations Lead
Julia is an Oxford and LSE graduate whose research focused on fiscal regulation. She has experience working in science and tech policy, agricultural innovation, and AI. 

Johannes Lang–Researcher
Johannes is a John F. Kennedy Scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School focused on migration and labor mobility. He has written on the topic for the Hill, Foreign Policy, and other outlets. 

The team will be supported by a team of advisors, including:

  • Jeff Alstott, Senior Information Scientist, RAND Corporation and Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
  • Parth Ahya, Chief of Staff, Renaissance Philanthropy
  • Fanta Aw, PhD, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA
  • Lawrence S. Bacow, President Emeritus, Harvard University
  • Amanda Baran, former Chief of the Office of Policy & Strategy at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for the Biden administration
  • Michael Clemens, Professor in the Department of Economics at George Mason University
  • Helen Dempster, Deputy Director, Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy and Policy Fellow
  • Johann Harnoss, BCG Henderson Fellow for Global Migration, and the Co-Founder and CEO of Imagine Foundation
  • William Kerr, Professor at Harvard Business School and the co-director of Harvard's Managing the Future of Work Project
  • Lant Pritchett, Development Economist
  • L. Rafael Reif, President Emeritus, MIT
  • Rajat Suri, Co-Founder, Lima, Presto, Lyft
  • Lisa Zeiger, Partner, Spero Ventures, Former-Head of Mobility, Stripe
What immigration pathways are you focused on?

The Talent Mobility Fund aims to increase the use of  existing, legal immigration pathways to the U.S. and other OECD countries. These include but are not limited to:

  • O-1 Visa: The United States introduced the O-1 visa in 1990 as a visa for noncitizens of “extraordinary ability.” The O-1 is uncapped, has no per country limits, and unlimited renewals. In 2022, the Biden administration published clarified guidance on how scientists could successfully apply for an O-1 visa. This guidance demonstrated that applicants do not need to have a Nobel Prize to get an O-1 and, in fact, many STEM PhDs and postdocs could qualify. This is because the O-1 requirements to document accomplishments include things like:  receipt of nationally and internationally recognized prizes or awards; membership in related associations requiring outstanding achievements; and authorship of scholarly articles in the field - which STEM PhDs often possess.With awareness, a wide range STEM professionals making extraordinary contributions to their field could take active steps to become qualified for the O-1 criteria. However, there is not yet a proactive, multi-sector effort to inform STEM professionals of this fact.
  • Specified Skilled Worker (SSW): Japan introduced the Specified Skilled Worker Visa in 2019 to “welcome capable specialists from overseas countries to work in Japanese industrial fields,” ranging from aviation to manufacturing. However, uptake has remained below its potential, with Japanese language fluency remaining as a major bottleneck.
  • Employment Permit System: Korea's EPS is a Government to Government (G2G) temporary migration program with 16 sending countries designed to address worker shortages and reduce corruption/abuse in recruitment practices. In 2023, the government of Korea made reforms to expand access to the program - raising the annual cap to 120,000 and relaxing worker limits in critical sectors like agriculture and manufacturing.
  • National Interest Waiver (NIW): Normally, in order to apply for a U.S. green card, individuals must have a sponsoring employer. The National Interest Waiver (NIW) for roles and individuals in the national interest of the United States eliminates this requirement for Employment-Based Second Preference ("EB2") immigrants with an advanced degree. In addition, NIW eliminates the requirement for sponsoring employers to first petition the Department of Labor for approval. USCIS approved approximately 7,500 NIW petitions in 2021 for STEM professionals out of a total of approximately 53,000 EB2 petitions for individuals engaging in STEM activities.  In 2023, there were again about 53,000 EB2 petitions for STEM professionals, but around 21,000 utilized the more predictable NIW process.  We believe there is an opportunity to markedly increase these numbers because so many foreign-born advanced STEM degree experts are working in critical and emerging technology fields in the United States.
  • Skilled Workers Immigration Act (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz, FEG): In August 2023, Germany passed the "Skilled Workers Immigration Act" with the aim of making it easier for a wide range of non-German skilled workers to work and reside in Germany. The lengthy reforms includes: 3-year learning-and-earning apprenticeships in trades & manufacturing, including green jobs, transport, care, and hospitality sectors; followed by full time, higher-paying jobs; extensions of time periods for job search visas; a range of new full time skills-based work visa opportunities, including options that give credit for prior work experience and use sending-country qualifications.
  • Early Career STEM Initiative (J-1): The Early Career STEM Research Initiative is a program under the J-1 exchange visitor program, which encourages U.S. universities and State Department-designated J-1 sponsors like IIE, CIEE, Cultural Vistas, and AIC to place researchers at host companies for up to 5 years, with no caps or per-country limits. While the J-1 is widely utilized to host researchers at universities, this new authority to place researchers at companies has gone largely unused since its introduction in 2022.
  • UK Health and Care Worker Visas: Many countries have dedicated visa programs to address healthcare shortages, but the UK's Care Worker visa includes "6146: senior care workers" and "6145: care workers and home carers", which are critically needed in OECD countries but often excluded because of lower education requirements. The UK visa requires an approved care sector employer, English proficiency, and a minimum salary, e.g., £18,600 annually for senior care workers.
  • EU Skilled Work Visas: There are millions of potential visas available to workers who can fill rapidly growing vacancies in the EU, without any changes to existing legislation. Unlike the US, work visas in the EU are uncapped and also not dependent on higher education requirements. Employers may have to show they cannot find a local worker and the implementation of that policy creates variation in accessibility of these uncapped visas. In addition to Germany, countries like Denmark, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, have all worked to make access to these visas easier for critical sectors. Example reforms include creating shortage occupation lists that are exempt from labor market test requirements, and introducing or extending the length of job search visas that enable people to reside in country while looking for work.
  • European Student Visa: There are an estimated 1.1 million spots at European universities in countries like France, Belgium, and Germany, which are free to attend and open to students from low- and middle-income countries. However, financial and legal barriers — like a requirement that EU student visa applicants demonstrate proof that they can afford the first year of living costs in their host country — deter students in low- and middle-income countries from pursuing this option.
How can I support the Fund? 

The Talent Mobility Fund is grateful to kickoff with support from a number of donors. We are looking for additional individual donors or institutions to join the Fund. Please contact our Operations Lead, Julia, to learn more about opportunities to contribute. 

How will you decide what to fund?

The grants review and selection process will be managed by Amy Nice and Jason Wendle, with input from an advisory committee made up of domain area experts. All our grants are judged on the basis of a rubric. We use rubrics specific to our two tracks—the U.S. STEM Immigration and the Global Mobility track—depending on which track prospective grants aim to target. However, both rubrics evaluate proposals on the basis of four criteria:

  • Alignment with Goals
  • Scalability and Impact Potential
  • Measurement of Success
  • Likelihood of Success
I am a prospective grantee, how do I get in touch?

You can email our Operations lead, Julia, with any questions. You can apply for funding here

Unanswered Questions?  Contact Us to learn more.