A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Poverty Guidelines for 2015 for Affidavit of Support of Immigrants (I-864)

USCIS released the most current HHS Poverty Guidelines in March 2015.  The purpose is to advise intending immigrants and their sponsors the income level required in their particular case to overcome the "public charge" ground of inadmissibility in the Immigration and National Act (INA). If a person is found to be inadmissible to the United States, he or she would not be allowed to immigrate. 
The public charge ground pursuant to Section 212(a)(4) of INA requires that family-based immigrants and the dependents of an employment-based immigrant must prove that they will not likely become a financial burden to the U.S. government. Normally, the I-864 Affidavit of Support form is used for these purposes. 
To financially support an intending immigrant and his/her family members, the sponsor(s) must generally show that their income level is above 125% of the U.S. poverty line for the family unit. Every year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) publishes the poverty guidelines for the public. The 2015 guidelines are listed below:

Size of Household
48 Contiguous States,D.C.U.S. Virgin Islands,Guam & CNMI
Alaska
Hawaii
125% of Poverty Line (U.S. dollars)
2
19.912
24,900
      22,912
3
25,112
         31,400
      28,887
4
30,312
37,900
      34,862
5
35,512
44,400
      40,837
6
40,712
50,900
      46,812
7
45,912
57,400
      52,787
8
51,112
         63,900
      58,762

Add $5,200 for each additional person
Add $6,500 for each additional person
Add $5,837 for each additional person

For many applicants, the I-864 form turns out to be the most challenging document to handle. In fact, a good number of immigrant petitions are delayed or denied due to the petitioner's failure to properly fill out the I-864 and related forms, or produce sufficient documents to prove financial ability.  If the petitioner cannot meet the I-864 requirements, another person may act as a joint sponsor and complete his or her own Affidavit of Support.  Both petitioner and the beneficiary may also use their assets such as real estate, stocks, bonds, cash, etc., to meet the I-864 requirements. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Visa Bulletin Predictions by Mr. Charlie Oppenheim

Mr. Charlie Oppenheim of the U.S. State Department is a household name among intending immigrants.  His Visa Control and Reporting Division manages the use of immigrant visa quota, which has a direct impact on how fast visa applicants may obtain their U.S. permanent residence status.  Mr. Oppenheim frequently provides his predictions and projections on various visa categories in the Visa Bulletin through AILA's DOS Liaison Committee.  Below is his most recent predictions from April 16, 2015.



EB-2 India:  This visa category has advanced significantly in March (16 months), April (8 months), and May (7+ months). Charlie cautioned, however, that this trend of forward movement will not likely to continue beyond July.  In fact, advancement will likely slow down or even stop in August and/or September.

EB-5 China:  The establishment of a cut-off date for EB-5 China in May's Visa Bulletin had also been previously predicted by Charlie due to heavy demand from Chinese investors. Charlie set the cut-off date (May 1, 2013) based on projections of supply and demand of visa numbers. However, should actual demand be different, the cut-off date could change accordingly. 

EB-3 Philippines Retrogression: In May's Visa Bulletin, EB-3 Philippines retrogresses to July 1, 2007. Although this change had already been predicted by Charlie previously, he actually was expecting a gradual increase in visa demand rather than a sudden major retrogression.  However, during the past six weeks, visa use by USCIS sky-rocketed to more than 2,000 suddenly (compared to 3,275 visa numbers used during the previous fiscal year).  Increased visa demand in the EB-1/EB-2 categories also further aggravated the situation. Going forward, Charlie hopes to advance the cut-off date throughout the summer, but is not certain about the extent of movement.

FB-1 Philippines: Demand for visa numbers in this category has increased. If this trend does not change,  Charlie predicts that retrogression is possible in June or July.




Saturday, April 18, 2015

Change in Work Location is Material Change Requiring new LCA and H-1B Petition

A change in the geographic work location is a material change in the terms and conditions of H-1B employment, for which the employer must file an amended or new H-1B petition with the corresponding Labor Condition Application (LCA), according to a recent decision of USCIS's Administrative Appeals Office.  Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC, 26 I&N Dec. 542 (AAO 2015).

Many modern jobs, especially those in IT consulting, require employees to travel or relocate to various work locations or client sites.  For H-1B employees, frequent travel and relocation can cause complications in their immigration status.  An H-1B petition is only approved for specific employment location(s), based on the information contained in the LCA.  

In order to protect the working conditions of U.S. workers and to ensure that foreign workers get paid the market wages, an H-1B employer is required to first submit a LCA with the Department of Labor to certify the working conditions and salary of the employee.  Section 212(n)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  

The regulation further requires that the petitioner file an amended or new H-1B petition whenever there are "any material changes in the terms and conditions of employment or training or the foreign employee's eligibility."  A new LCA must also accompany the new or amended H-1B petition.  8 CFR Sec. 214.2(h)(2)(i)(E).  

There are some exceptions to these rules. For example, the job nature of some workers (e.g., sales professionals) require them to travel frequently, but they don't spend more than five days in one place,  For these peripatetic workers, the different work locations are not considered new work-sites or places of employment.  As such no new H-1B petitions or LCAs are required.  

However, some employers choose not to file new H-1B petitions even though their employees have been assigned to new job-sites or client locations. Cost-saving is a common reason for non-compliance. Some employers actually try to avoid another round of adjudication out of fear that the new petition may not be approved.   However, under Simeio Solutions LLC, it is no longer prudent for employers to put off filing amended H-1B petitions whenever there are changes in work locations. Noncompliance or delayed filings will result in revocation as well as other legal consequences such as a finding of willful violation by the Department of Labor. 



Thursday, April 16, 2015

May 2015 Visa Bulletin: EB-5 China Cutoff, EB-2 China and India Advance; EB-3 Philippines Retrogresses

In May, EB-2 China and India continue their rapid forward movement, advancing 14 months and 7.5 months to June 1, 2012 and April 15, 2008 respectively.  Eligible applicants with current priority dates should take advantage of this positive movement to file their I-485 adjustment applications as soon as possible.

EB-5 China Cut-off
As predicted by the State Department, due to heavy visa demand from Chinese investors, the EB-5 employment-creation visa category for mainland China has a cut-off date of May 1, 2013, for the first time in May. The State Department is not able to make specific prediction regarding future movement of this category, which will depend on actual visa use in the coming months. Retrogression is possible but not certain before the end of the fiscal year.

Philippines's Family 1st and Employment 3rd
During the past year, Philippines' Family 1st cut-off date had been advanced significantly by the State Department in an effort to use up all available numbers for the fiscal year. The State Department warns that retrogression may be possible in the next few months to limit visa number use within the annual cap for this preference category.

Similarly, Philippines' EB-3 had also been advanced very rapidly during the past year, generating significant use of visa numbers.  Consequently, this visa category retrogresses in May to July 1, 2007 (from October 1, 2014) in an attempt to limit visa use.

FAMILY
Other Countries
China
India
Mexico
Philippines
F1
08/15/07
08/15/07
08/15/07
11/08/94
02/01/05
F2A
09/01/13
09/01/13
09/01/13
08/08/13
09/01/13
F2B
09/15/08
09/15/08
09/15/08
04/01/95
04/22/04
F3
02/22/04
02/22/04
02/22/04
04/15/94
08/15/93
F4
08/01/02
08/01/02
08/01/02
07/15/97
10/22/91

1st: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens (about 23,000 per year).
2A: The 2 "A" preference is for Spouses and Children (under 21 & unmarried) of LPR's.
2B: The 2 "B" Preference is for Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 or older) of LPR's.
3rd: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens.(about 23,000 per year)
4th: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens.(about 65,000 per year)

EMPLOYMENT
Other Countries
China
India
Mexico
Philippines
EB1
C
C
C
C
C
EB2
C
06/01/12
04/15/08
C
C
EB3
01/01/15
05/01/11
01/15/04
01/01/15
07/01/07
Other Workers
01/01/15
11/15/05
01/15/04
01/01/15
07/01/07
EB4
C
C
C
C
C
EB5
C
05/01/13
C
C
C


1st: Priority Workers (Extraordinary ability aliens, multinational companies executives/managers, outstanding prof./researchers)
2nd: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability.
3rd: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers (Unskilled.)
4th: "Special Immigrants" (Religious & others)
5th: Employment Creation (Investors)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 2015 Visa Bulletin

In April's bulletin, EB-2 India and China advance significantly by 8 months and 7 months respectively.  These advancements enable many applicants to file their I-485 adjustment (green card) applications this month.


FAMILY
Other Countries
China
India
Mexico
Philippines
F1
08/01/07
08/01/07
08/01/07
11/01/94
02/01/05
F2A
08/01/13
08/01/13
08/01/13
07/08/13
08/01/13
F2B
08/22/08
08/22/08
08/22/08
02/01/95
04/01/04
F3
02/08/04
02/08/04
02/08/04
04/01/94
08/08/93
F4
06/15/02
06/15/02
06/15/02
07/08/97
09/22/91

1st: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens (about 23,000 per year).
2A: The 2 "A" preference is for Spouses and Children (under 21 & unmarried) of LPR's.
2B: The 2 "B" Preference is for Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 or older) of LPR's.
3rd: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens.(about 23,000 per year)
4th: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens.(about 65,000 per year)

EMPLOYMENT
Other Countries
China
India
Mexico
Philippines
EB1
C
C
C
C
C
EB2
C
04/01/11
09/01/07
C
C
EB3
10/01/14
01/01/11
01/08/04
10/01/14
10/01/14
Other Workers
10/01/14
08/15/05
01/08/04
10/01/14
10/01/14
EB4
C
C
C
C
C
EB5
C
C
C
C
C


1st: Priority Workers (Extraordinary ability aliens, multinational companies executives/managers, outstanding prof./researchers)
2nd: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability.
3rd: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers (Unskilled.)
4th: "Special Immigrants" (Religious & others)
5th: Employment Creation (Investors)

Monday, April 13, 2015

USCIS received 233,000 H-1B petitions; visa lottery completed

USCIS announced today (April 13, 2015) that it has completed the computerized random selection process for next year's H-1B program.  The agency first selected 20,000 exempt cases from petitions filed by U.S. advanced degree holders.  The cases not selected are then added to the pool of regular cap cases, from which 65,000 cases are selected (less 6,800 visas which are set aside under the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore free trade agreements).

This year, USCIS received about 233,000 H-1B petitions during the first five days of the filing period.

USCIS expects to begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 11, 2015.

Update: USCIS confirmed that premium processing services will begin on April 27, 2015. 


H-1B quota reached, what do I do now?

As expected, the FY2016 H-1B visa cap has been reached on April 7, 2015, and the USCIS will use a random selection process to choose a portion of the submitted applications for further processing.  If you haven't submitted an H-1B petition, or if your petition is not selected for further processing, are you out of luck?  Although the regular and master H-1B caps of 65,000 and 20,000 have been reached, foreign professionals may still be able to stay or work in the United States. The following are ten options that you may consider:

1)  Work for a quota-exempt "Institution of Higher Education” such as a college or university:  This exemption is quite straightforward.  Many academic researchers, teachers and professionals qualify for this exemption based on their employment at an accredited institution of higher education.


2)  Work for a non-profit organization affiliated or related to an Institution of Higher Education:  There are many such employers.  Many non-profit organizations such as medical clinics and community organizations are affiliated or somehow related to colleges and universities.  For examples, they may have internship programs for college students or offer an environment for students to practice their trade.  The USCIS has been quite reasonable with the meaning of “affiliated” and “related.”  The key here is to ask the employer the right questions to find out their relationship with colleges or universities.

3) Work for a nonprofit research organization or government research organization:  For private organizations, proper document is needed to document the nature of the research activities being conducted.

4) Employment at an H-1B exempt employer:  This exception is not known by many applicants.  For many petitions, the H-1B employer is not itself an exempted entity.  However, by virtue of the nature of the employment, the H-1B beneficiary has to physically work on-site at an entity which is an exempt institution. If so, the employment is also exempt from the visa cap.  Again, some investigation is needed to ascertain eligibility for this exemption.  Many categories of H-1B workers including IT professionals may qualify for it.

5) Applicants who are citizens of SingaporeChile, or Australia:  Separate visa categories and visa quota are available for these individuals.  For Singaporeans and Chileans, there is the H1B1 visa category.  For Australians, the E-3 visa category is designed for them. These individuals are not subject to the general H-1B cap.

6) Concurrent exempt employment:  For those applicants who are already working in exempt H-1B status, they are eligible to apply for concurrent non-exempt H-1B employment.  It is important for the applicant to maintain proper H-1B status at the exempt employment in order to continue working for the cap-subject employer.

7) Former H-1B workers who left the U.S.:  For H-1B applicants who were already counted once during the past six years, and who were absent from the U.S. for more than one year, they may seek to use the “reminder” of the six-year maximum period.  These applicants may also elect to re-apply for a new 6-year period of H-1B status.  However, if the absence was less than one year, the applicant may only apply to reenter the U.S. based on the reminder of the initial H-1B status.  

8) Former or current H-1B workers in the U.S.:  Foreign professionals who were granted cap-subject H-1B status before or who are in valid H-1B status, may apply for an extension of status or a change of status to H-1B without regard of the visa cap. However, they must meet other requirements such as not having used up their six years of maximum H-1B employment period.  

9) Use dependent status to work:  A foreign professional may also legally work in the U.S. as the spouse of an L-1 multinational company transferee or an E-1 treaty trader.  Similarly, one may also file a dependent adjustment of status application (I-485) along with an EAD application (I-765) if the principal spouse is eligible to adjust status.  Further, certain H-4 dependents may also apply for EADs under the most recent USCIS policy.

10)  Use STEM OPT to work:  STEM degree graduates may also take advantage of the additional 17 months of OPT period to work in the U.S. and apply for H-1B status next year.  



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

2016 H1B CAP Reached!

That's it for this year.  No more H-1B cap-subject petitions will be accepted for FY2016, according to USCIS.  

Today, the immigration agency announced that it has already received more than enough H-1B petitions for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2015.  As of April 7, 2015 - the last receipt date - USCIS had received more than the annual limits of 65,000 H-1B petitions for regular cap and 20,000 H-1B petitions for U.S. advanced degree cap respectively.  To meet the annual visa quota, USCIS will use a random selection process to select a portion of cases for further processing based on the visa cap.  The selection process will only happen after the agency has a chance to complete the intake process.  Stay tune for further updates. (It is important to note that applicants may still submit non-cap H-1B cases now such as extension petitions and amendments.  )

Monday, April 6, 2015

14% increase in international students since January 2014

Every year, thousands of foreign students and exchange visitors come to United States to pursue academic studies or other knowledge exchange programs under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a Web-based system that stores and manages information about international students, exchange visitors and their dependents during their stay in the United States.

14.18% Increase in Number of Students
According to the recent data of SEVIS, approximately 1.13 million international students were enrolled at nearly 8,979 U.S. schools as of February 6, 2015.  Most of these students are here on the F-1 student visa or the M vocational visa. This represents a 14.18% increase from January 2014.  The number of schools, however, has increased only one percent.

76% Students are from Asia (China, India, South Korea)
Asia has sent the most students to the U.S., representing 76% of all foreign students.  The top 10 countries of origins are: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Mexico and Brazil.

Most Popular Schools - University of So. CA, Purdue, Columbia, Illinois, NYU 
According to the data released, only 30 SEVP-certified schools had more than 5,000 international students enrolled in February. However, each of the following schools has more than 10,000 international schools:  The University of Southern California, Purdue University, Columbia University, the University of Illinois and New York University.

37% of International Students in STEM Programs
Approximately 37% of international students (about 400,000) studying in the United States were enrolled in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs in February. 86% of them were from Asia. Over the past five years, the number of female international students pursuing STEM fields had increased more than 68 percent, from 76,638 in February 2010 to 128,807 in February 2015.  The number of female international students pursuing technical master’s degrees had increased 114 percent during the same period of time. 

Most Popular States: New York, California and Florida
73% of students were enrolled in traditional academic programs pursuing bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees. The data also shows that California, New York and Florida had the most SEVP-certified schools.  But 76 percent of SEVP-certified schools had between zero and 50 international students. 


Monday, March 30, 2015

Computer Jobs made up 65% of H-1B Petitions in FY2014

USCIS recently released a report on the characteristics of H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2014.  The following are some of the highlights:
  • The number of H-1B petitions filed increased 6% from 299,467 in FY 2013 to 318,824 in FY 2014.
  • The number of H-1B petitions approved increased 10% from 286,773 in FY 2013 to 315,857 in FY 2014.
  • 72% of H-1B petitions approved in FY 2014 were for workers between the ages of 25 and 34.
  • 45% of H-1B petitions approved in FY 2014 were for workers with a bachelor’s degree, 43% had a master’s degree, 8% had a doctorate, and 4% were for workers with a professional degree.
  • 65% of H-1B petitions approved in FY 2014 were for workers in computer-related occupations.
  • The median salary of beneficiaries of approved petitions increased from $72,000 for FY2013 to $75,000 for FY 2014.

Top 10 Countries
The top 10 countries of birth of applicants are: India (220,286), China, People's Republic (26,393), Canada (6,853), Philippines (5,157), South Korea (4,390), United Kingdom (3,307), Mexico (2,768), Taiwan (2,406), France (2,218) and Japan (1,983).  

Top 10 Occupation Classifications by Number
The top 10 occupation classifications are: Occupations in Systems Analysis and Programming (54.1%), Computer-Related Occupations, Others (8.4%), Occupations in College and University Education (4.6%), Electrical/Electronics Engineering Occupations (3.6%), Accountants, Auditors, and Related Occupations (2.5%), Physicians and Surgeons (2.3%), Mechanical Engineering Occupations (1.7%), Occupations in Architecture, Engineering, and Surveying (1.2%), Occupations in Administrative Specializations (1.2%), Budget and Management Systems Analysis Occupations (1.2%).

Top 10 Occupation Classifications by Salaries
The top 10 occupation classifications ranked by mean annual income are:  Sales Promotion Occupations ($127,000), Occupations in Law and Jurisprudence ($119,000), Occupations in Medicine and Health ($117,000), Managers and Officials ($111,000), Miscellaneous Professional, Technical, and Managerial Occupations ($99,000), Occupations in Social Sciences ($90,000), Occupations in Architecture, Engineering, and Surveying ($89,000), Occupations in Mathematics and Physical Sciences ($85,000), Computer-related Occupations ($83,000), and Occupation in Administrative Specializations ($79,000)

These statistics provide some important insight regarding the sometimes controversial H-1B Visa Program.



Friday, March 20, 2015

L-1B Visa Denial Rates at All Time High

The denial rate for L-1B "specialized knowledge" multinational employees was all time high in 2014. According to the USCIS statistics, the denial rate for L-1B increased to 35 percent in FY2014.   These numbers were reported and analyzed by  the National Foundation for American Policy in their March 2015 report.  


High Historic H-1B Denial Rate
To put things in perspective, one should note that the denial rate for L-1B petitions was only 6 percent in FY 2006.  The denial rate has increased gradually over the past decade especially the last few years.  Such increase is particularly alarming since the legal requirements for this visa type have not changed.  

Indian Nationals Hit Hardest
The NFAP report also contains these additional insights:

- The L-1B denial rate for Indian nationals is 56 percent for FY2012 through FY 2014, compared to an average denial rate of 13 percent to employees from all other countries during the same period. 

- The denial rate for employees already working in the U.S. (41 percent in FY 2014) is higher than first-time applications (32 percent).  The difference is disturbing as USCIS usually gives deference to visa petitions that have already been approved previously.

- While only 2 percent of L-1B cases received a Request for Evidence in FY2004, 45 percent of L-1B petitions were issued RFE in FY2014, 

Main Reason for Denial
The main reason for denying an L-1B visa petition is usually based on a finding that the job duties are not "specialized" in nature.  While the L-1A is used to transfer executives and high-level managers of international companies to the U.S., the L-1B visa was created to transfer employees who have special knowledge of the company's product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interests and its application in international markets.  Alternatively, the L-1B employee can also be somebody who has an advanced level of knowledge or processes and procedures of the company.

The difficulty lies on the vagueness of this definition.  While the company believes that certain knowledge and skills constitute specialized knowledge, the Immigration Examiners think differently. In fact, USCIS sometimes takes the view that in the modern world, most jobs require certain degree of specialized knowledge and, therefore, an L-1B petition must show more to warrant approval. Another perception is that petitioners are using the L-1B visa in place of the H-1B visa to bypass the latter's visa cap.

In technological jobs, employees must apply technical knowledge of computer hardware and software to perform their job duties.  Is this knowledge specialized knowledge contemplated by the L-1B visa or just regular technical skills that most employees in the profession are expected to possess? Sometimes the distinction is only a fine line, depending on the particular facts of the case and interpretation. 

Conclusion
USCIS has promised to issue more guidance on the standard of adjudication on L-1B visa.  Until then, employers must understand the current high denial rates in this type of cases and act accordingly.  Based on a careful analysis of each case and presentation of appropriate evidence and legal arguments, our office has been able to secure L-1B approvals for our clients even in this unfriendly adjudication environment. 



Friday, March 13, 2015

Health Care Manager H-1B denial reversed

An acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine practice in Lynnwood, WA, filed an H-1B petition on behalf of a Korean national for the position of a part-time Health Care Manager.  The petition was denied by USCIS because the agency found the profession not to be a "specialty occupation" under the H-1B Visa Program.  Further, the agency concluded that the beneficiary did not qualify for the position based on her three-year bachelor's degree and work experience.  On appeal, a District Court reversed the USCIS decision and approved the H-1B petition.

Congress created the H-1B Visa Program so that U.S. employers may hire foreign workers to fill job openings that generally require technical skills or professional knowledge.  For example, before the "dot-com" bubble was burst, most of the H-1B employees were hi-tech workers with computer or engineering skills.  However, the H-1B visa is not only granted to technical employees. Over the years, many other professionals such as Human Resource Specialists and Market Research Analysts, etc., have been found to qualify for H-1B status.  

For a job opening to qualify under the H-1B Visa Program, it must be a "specialty occupation" under the law. There are four different ways that a job can be classified as a specialty occupation.  One of the criteria is that " A baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for entry into a particular position."  In this case, USCIS, referring to the Labor Department's Occupation Outlook Handbook (OOH), concluded that Health Care Manager position is not a specialty occupation.  According to the OOH:

Medical and health services managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation. However, master’s degrees in health services, long-term care administration, public health, public administration, or business administration also are common. Prospective medical and health services managers have a bachelor’s degree in health administration.

In its denial, USCIS reasoned that while many Health Care Manager jobs require a bachelor's degree, it is not a requirement to enter the profession.  Further, it also noted that the profession does not require one specific degree to enter in denying the petition. 

On appeal, the District Court disagreed with this position.  Another Court in California actually has considered the issue and found that medical and health services managers constituted a specialty occupation. More important, the District Court held that the regulation "does not restrict qualifying occupations to those for which there exists a single, specifically tailored and titled degree program."   The statute and regulation actually allow for occupations that require the attainment of the “equivalent” of specialized bachelor’s degree to enter. 

Further the District Court also disagreed with the USCIS conclusion that the beneficiary did not qualify for the position. An expert opinion letter concluded that the beneficiary's three of years of coursework in South Korea and her four plus years of professional experience in management is the equivalent of a Bachelor of Science in Management from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States.  USCIS discounted the evidentiary value of the expert opinion letter but this position was also struck down by the District Court as being an abuse of its discretion.

The issues of specialty occupation and degree equivalency have become hot topics in recent years as the filings of H-1B petitions increase.  Careful planning and analysis is absolutely required before filing an H-1B petition to ensure legal compliance and approval.