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Changes to National Interest Waivers

There are a many different opinions when it comes to immigration and immigration laws. However, most people believe that someone who benefits the interest of the United States should be allowed to immigrate to the country. Current immigration laws include paths for immigration through national interest waivers, but this path has been somewhat narrow and often leads to disappointment.

In December of 2016 the Administrative Appeals Office made a decision in the case, “Matter of Dhanasar.” This decision has broadened the path for many individuals as it establishes a new standard for assessing if and when a person’s immigration status is for the national interest.

Procedural History of National Interest Waivers

In order to understand more fully the importance of this recent decision, a brief history of the National Interest Waiver is necessary. The statute did not define national interest and had a broad interpretation. In the 1998 decision in the Matter of NYSDOT, the definition was narrowed.

This 1998 decision emphasized the importance of protecting the labor market of the United States, but instead of focusing on the benefits an immigrant might bring it focused on whether or not national interest would be harmed if the immigrant was required to have labor certification from the employer that sponsored them.

Unfortunately, this meant that immigrants who were offered jobs would not be able to use the national interest path as the government made the decision that most people who had job offers would be required to go through the labor certification process.

New Changes Concerning National Interest Waivers

Depending on how the new law is implemented, new standards should open up pathways to green cards for individuals whose skills will benefit the U.S., have been offered a job, and are either early in their career or not in academia, who have been notoriously absent from immigrant categories. This category can also be used for non-tenure positions as well as self-employment.

This pathway is the national interest waiver as it waives the need for labor certification. To use this path a foreign national will need to be a professional in their field with an advanced degree or show that they have “exceptional ability.”

An employer will have to show that the foreign national is positioned to advanced in the proposed position.

Learn More About National Interest Waivers

The recent decision by the Administrative Appeals Office has a number of implications. To learn more about National Interest Waivers and how they can affect immigration status, contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal.

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