CASE: Motion to Reopen (I-290B) / H-1B Visa Petition
PETITIONER: Healthcare Staffing Company
BENEFICIARY: Filipino Pharmacist Intern
Our client is one of the leading healthcare staffing firms in Northeast Ohio, serving the general staffing needs of regional hospitals and clinics. They contacted our office in early March to seek legal assistance from our office for their foreign employee.
The beneficiary is a licensed pharmacist in the Philippines who obtained his Doctor of Pharmacy degree in the Philippines. The proffered position for the Beneficiary is a Pharmacist Intern because he does not have any U.S. Pharmacist license. Still, we showed that this is a “specialty occupation” because the minimum requirement for this position is a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree.
When our client contacted us, the numerical cap of H-1B visas for fiscal year 2014 was not available. Also, since the Petitioner is a staffing firm, their foreign employee will be placed at different hospitals (off-site employment issue).
We told our client that we can argue that they are qualified for some of the exemption provisions for the H-1B cap. We explained that we can argue the nonprofit exemption, as well as cite some CIS memorandums regarding eligibility for H-1B petitions despite off-site employment.
We showed that the main reason for cap-exemption is that the foreign employee will be placed at two hospitals which are non-profit research organizations as defined in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C).
Our office argued that this H-1B petition is exempted from the H-1B numerical limitations (cap-exempt) because the Petitioner will employ the beneficiary to perform job duties at non-profit research organizations (two hospitals) as defined in 8 C.F.R. 214(h)(19)(iii)(C) that directly and predominately furthers the normal, primary, or essential purpose, mission, objectives, or function of the qualifying institution (nonprofit research).
We also argued that these two hospitals are clearly qualified as non-profit research organizations as defined in 8 C.F.R. 214(h)(19)(iii)(C). These two organizations are primarily engaged in basic research and/or applied research. Moreover, the beneficiary’s job duties, which will be performed on-site at qualifying non-profit research organizations, will be similar to those performed by actual employees (Pharmacist Interns) of the two hospitals in the furtherance of the qualifying entities’ mission.
Furthermore, we explained that the Petitioner will comply with the statutory and regulatory requirements of the H-1B non-immigrant classification for the placement of the beneficiary at the two hospitals during the period of employment. We mentioned that the beneficiary will be paid higher than the prevailing wage for the pharmacist position by the Petitioner, and Petitioner-Employer will maintain an employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary. The Petitioner has the right to control the work of the beneficiary on a day-to-day basis as well. We explained that the Petitioner has a sole right to hire, pay, and has the ability to fire the beneficiary as well.
Once retained, our office filed the H-1B visa petition with various supporting documents on May 7, 2013 via premium processing.
However, the USCIS California Service Center issued Requests for Evidence (RFE) on May 22, 2014 and requested Petitioner to demonstrate that the prospective places of employment for Beneficiary are truly non-profit organizations under the definition of cap-exempt purposes. Also, the USCIS requested additional information regarding the qualifications of Beneficiary for the proffered position.
The USCIS requested the Petitioner to submit evidence regarding his lack of license – in particular, further proof that he could not get a license in Ohio due to what we claimed on the initial application as a lack of social security / status.
Once we received the RFE request, our office prepared the response for the RFE and argued that the prospective places of employment for Beneficiary are non-profit medical research organizations and Beneficiary’s work will be similar to Pharmacist Interns in those hospitals.
We submitted the name, address, and contact information of supervisors of each Pharmacy where Beneficiary will be placed. We also included why he could not take the Board exam (since he does not have a social security number) and did not get a license.We filed this Response to the RFE on May 29, 2014.
Unfortunately, the USCIS denied this case in June 2014. They agreed with our position on the “cap-exempt” issues, however, they did not accept the Ohio Pharmacy Board requirements proof that we submitted showing that they needed a social security number, and that our client did not have one. They instead wanted a deficiency letter.
So our client applied for a license with knowledge that they won’t give it to him, just so that the CIS will be satisfied with the evidence. He indeed got a deficiency letter from Ohio, which we submitted in a Motion to Reopen.
We also argued in light of the Donald Neufeld March 21, 2008 Memorandum. According to the memo and adjudicator’s Field Manual Section 31.3(d), “adjudicators are instructed to approve the petition for a one-year validity period, provided that the sole reason why the alien beneficiary does not possess such license is that the appropriate licensing authority will not grant such license to an alien absent evidence that the alien has been granted H-1B status.” We argued that beneficiary’s status would allow him to obtain a social security number which will lead him to get his license.
Our office filed a Form I-290B (Motion to Reopen) and a detailed brief with exhibits to the USCIS California Service Center on July 9, 2014. Eventually, our client’s Motion to Reopen was granted by the USCIS on September 15, 2014. Subsequently, his H-1B application was approved on October 1, 2014. Now, the beneficiary can work for the Petitioner from October 1, 2014 for one year.