The American Immigration Council (Council), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and the law firms Van Der Hout, LLP, Joseph & Hall P.C., and Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC filed a nationwide class action lawsuit on April 16, 2020, challenging U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) pattern and practice of denying H-1B nonimmigrant employment-based petitions for market research analysts positions filed by businesses in the United States.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Northern District of California in San Jose, seeks to “rein in the unlawful adjudication practice USCIS uses in determining whether a market research analyst job qualifies as a ‘specialty occupation,’ and the agency’s misinterpretation of the Occupational Outlook Handbook [OOH]—a publication of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics that profiles hundreds of occupations in the United States’ job market,” AILA said.
The complaint alleges that USCIS erroneously denies H-1B petitions for market research analysts by concluding that the OOH does not establish that the occupation is a specialty occupation. According to the complaint, USCIS denied at least 66 market research analyst H-1B petitions in the last three years and six petitions in the first two months of 2020, all of which used the same reasoning. Based upon these annual statistics, the complaint estimates that since January 2019, at least 40 U.S. businesses had H-1B petitions for market research analysts denied and that there likely would be hundreds more denials on the same basis in the future.