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National Interest Waivers Saw Some Big Changes

There are 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 Offices of Sweta Khandelwal.

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Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

Sweta has been recognized as a ” Super Lawyer, Rising Star,” and as amongst the ” Top 40 under 40″ immigration attorneys in California (American Society of Legal Advocates). She is also the recipient of the Advocacy Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Sweta is also a chartered accountant — the equivalent of a CPA. This makes her uniquely positioned to understand the immigration needs of her business clients in the broader context of their corporate objectives.

Sweta is actively involved with immigration issues and immigrant communities in various capacities. She has assumed key roles at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), both at the local and national level. She has been a past chair at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter at AILA and has also been involved in various practice area committees at AILA National. Sweta has addressed multiple conferences/forums in the United States and worldwide on immigration and business issues.

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