by Victoria Chen, Esq., J.D.
Background: The petitioner seeks classification pursuant to section 203(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act), as a member of the professions holding an advanced degree. The petitioner seeks employment as a geodesist. The petitioner asserts that an exemption from the requirement of a job offer, and thus of a labor certification, is in the national interest of the United States.
USCIS Decision: The director found that the petitioner qualifies for classification as a member of the professions holding an advanced degree but that the petitioner had not established that an exemption from the requirement of a job offer would be in the national interest of the United States.
USCIS’s Reasons of Denial: The director acknowledged the intrinsic merit and national scope of the petitioner’s occupation, and quoted from several witness letters, but found that the most reliable indicator of the petitioner’s past impact in geodesy is the history of having his work cited by colleagues and others in the field. The director found that the petitioner’s minimal citation history is absolutely not consistent with eligibility for the waiver.
AAO’s Decision: The AAO admitted the importance of citations in determining an alien’s past accomplishments. However, the Office acknowledged the petitioner’s explainations that, because his employing institution has limited his ability to share specific data, as opposed to broad findings, other researchers have less ability to use the petitioner’s methods, which in turn reduces opportunities to cite his work. Other materials in the record confirm that the petitioner’s work has heavily emphasized presentation rather than more readily cited publication. Independent witness letters likewise show that the petitioner’s presented work has deeply influenced the work of others, even without the citable detail of journal publications. Independent witnesses have provided credible, detailed and persuasive explanations of how the petitioner’s work has influenced their own efforts, and the petitioner’s employing institution has consistently indicated that the petitioner is not only valued, but a vital participant in its ongoing efforts.
The AAO therefore sustained the appeal and approved the NIW petition.
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