The federal district court in the Northern District of California has approved a settlement under which USCIS must consider a market research analyst a “professional profession,” making professionals working in the field eligible for H-1B visas. So far, it has been the most sought after work visa for IT professionals and employers.

Based on its prior interpretation of the Occupational Outlook Handbook – a Bureau of Labor Statistics publication that identifies hundreds of occupations in the US labor market – USCIS was determining that market research analysts did not qualify as a “professional”. The settlement will allow companies to ask USCIS to reopen and re-seal their rejected H-1B petitions.

“This settlement is an important victory that will benefit the hundreds of US companies and market research analysts they have sought to hire,” said Leslie K. Dillon, senior (business immigration) attorney at the US Immigration Council.

The class action in this regard was brought by the US Immigration Board, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the law firms Van Der Hout LLP, Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP (formerly Joseph & Hall PC) and Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC.

“This settlement strikes the right balance between what regulations actually say and how employers assess a candidate’s professional qualifications in the real world,” said Jeff Joseph, Partner at Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. “It is our sincere hope that USCIS will now interpreting other specialized professions from a perspective that is in line with what is really happening in the free market.”

IT professionals

While the inclusion of new categories of professions will affect the share of tech professionals to some extent, those will continue to make their way through the lottery through the sheer volume of applications, legal experts said. Nearly 70 percent of the total allocation of H-1B visas each year globally goes to Indian IT professionals.

Purvi Chothani, Founder and Managing Partner of LawQuest, a global law firm, said: business lineThere will be a slight decrease in the number of H-1B visas that will be allocated to tech professionals in the lottery, but the difference will be marginal. The IT sector will not be affected significantly as the number of applications from India for market research analyst roles is much lower relative to applications for tech jobs information. Thus, in a lottery system, the number of choices for market analysts will also be relatively less.”

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