Visa Crunch

Green signal for market analysts in the USA as they qualify for H1-B visa

A country-wide class action lawsuit has been filed in federal court in the United States, challenging the arbitrary exclusion of H-1B applications for market research analysts. MadKudu Inc and Quick Fitting Inc, two US companies, filed a civil suit on behalf of themselves and all similarly situated US employers. The H-1B visa allows US employers to apply for overseas professionals to work in ‘specialty occupations’ that necessitate a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. The plaintiffs’ H-1B applications for market research analysts were reopened and approved as a result of the class-action lawsuit. USCIS has changed its viewpoint of multiple immigration laws, including those affecting H-1Bvisa petitions, over the last four years. This has led to a significant increase in costs and a negative impact on US employers seeking to hire talented foreign nationals on a temporary basis. The USCIS, which decides on H-1B visas and extensions, would have to recognize “market research analysts” as a specialty occupation qualified for this work visa.

USCIS has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit filed last year that sought to stop the agency from authorizing blanket H-1B visa refusals for market research analyst leadership roles. The class-action lawsuit attempted to end USCIS’s unlawful adjudicating practices, as well as its mischaracterization of the Labor Department’s “Occupational Outlook Handbook,” which profiles hundreds of occupational groups in the US job market, as previously reported.

The stakeholders entered into an agreement on August 20, 2021, and the district court preliminary approved the agreement ten days later. In October, a fairness hearing will be held. “The proposed settlement gives US businesses who are within the class another chance to have their H-1B market research analyst petitions approved—this time under procedures worked out by the parties to the lawsuit,” said, Leslie K Dellon, Senior Attorney (Business Immigration) at the American Immigration Council, which was one of the associations that represented the plaintiffs.

“We are pleased that USCIS has agreed to settle this dispute, reconsider the hundreds of cases it erroneously denied for market research analysts, and revise its internal guidance on H-1B adjudication,” said Charles H Kuck, another immigration attorney involved in the case. This case has far-reaching implications for those who are willing to stand up to the government, as it demonstrates how those who are willing to challenge the government can not only help their own cases but also contribute to the transformation of a broken system.”

Last December, a federal appeals court in the United States declared computer programmers to be a specialty occupation. As a result, USCIS had to revoke an earlier memo that had ultimately led to the denial of H-1B visas to this group of workers.

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