CASE: H-1B Visa Petition
PETITIONER: Research Foundation in Washington, D.C.
BENEFICIARY: French Staff Accountant
ISSUES: Cap-Exempt, Research Organization
Our client is one of the leading research associations for the advancement, health, and sustainability of student affairs and education in the United States. Its National Headquarter in D.C. contacted our office in early December 2013 to seek legal assistance from our office for their foreign employee. The beneficiary is a Staff Accountant for this organization who has been working for Petitioner under the OPT program.
The beneficiary is a citizen of France, and has a Bachelor’s degree from the United States. The proffered position for the Beneficiary is a Staff Accountant. We showed that this is a “specialty occupation” because the minimum requirement for this position is a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting or its equivalent.
In the first week of April, the numerical cap of H-1B visas for fiscal year 2014 was already reached. However, we believed our client is qualified for cap-exempt petitions since it is arguable that they are a non-profit research organization as defined in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C). Under the provisions of INA Section 214(g)(5), “the numerical limitations contained in paragraph (1)(A) shall not apply to any non-immigrant alien issued a visa or otherwise provided status under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) who –
(B) is employed (or has received an offer of employment) at a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization.”
The June 6, 2006 Michael Aytes’ Memo (Published by USCIS) on Guidance Regarding Eligibility for Exemption from the H-1B Cap Based on Section 103 of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21) (Public Law 106-313) outlines the fee and cap exemption for nonprofit research organization as defined in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C).
Under 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C), a non-profit research organization is “an organization that is primarily engaged in basic research and/or applied research. Basic research is also research that advances scientific knowledge, but does not have specific immediate commercial objectives although it may be in fields of present or potential commercial interest. It may include research and investigation in the sciences, social sciences, or humanities. Applied research is research to gain knowledge or understanding to determine the means by which a specific, recognized need may be met. Applied research includes investigations oriented to discovering new scientific knowledge that has specific commercial objectives with respect to products, processes, or services. It may include research and investigation in the sciences, social sciences, or humanities.”
Thus, our office argued that our client-company is qualified as a non-profit research organization as defined in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C).
After retention, our office filed the H-1B visa petition with various supporting documents on December 27, 2013 via premium processing. This included an extensive brief arguing that our client was cap-exempt. There were no Requests for Evidence during the processing of the H-1B. Eventually, our client’s H-1B application was approved on January 3, 2014. He can now work for his employer for three years on an H-1B status, and he did not have to wait for April 1 for the petition filing, nor October 1 to start working.