“Tech Firm Sues USCIS after Their Client’s H-1B Application is Falsely Denied”

Ritu Jha-

 

San Francisco based company, Xterra Solutions says that even though they fulfilled all the requirements needed by USCIS to process H-1B applications for their highly educated client, the agency denied the application.

Xterra Solutions has filed a complaint on behalf of the plaintiff, Praharsh Chandra Sai Venkata Anisetty.

Anisetty, of Indian origin, who was hired on for Optional Practical Training (OPT) and later filed for an H-1B visa says that the agency did not give substantial evidence on the rejection, just that he did not qualify for an H-1B specialty occupation.

Xterra Solutions, established in 2009, is a private, small-medium sized technology solutions firm which specializes in information technology, infrastructure management, configuration, and services with a gross annual income of approximately $4.7 million.

Xterra’s complaint states that the agency’s denial is not supported by substantial evidence in the record, is contrary to established legal precedent, and is allegedly arbitrary, capricious, and constitutes a clear abuse of discretion.

When indica reached out to USCIS, its spokesperson said, “It’s USCIS policy not to talk about matters that are under litigation.”

Twenty-eight-year-old Anisetty joined Xterra Solutions in 2016, while he was on OPT and on completing his first 12 months of OPT was granted an extension to work for the same firm after which he filed for his H-1B visa.

According to the court document, Anisetty has a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering (Electronics and Communication Engineering) from the PES Institute of Technology in India as well as a Master’s of Science Degree in Information Technology and Management from the University of Texas at Dallas.

In 2018, Xterra Solutions filed an H-1B visa petition (a Master’s Degree or Higher known as a Master’s Cap petition) to employ Anisetty as a Business Systems Analyst from October 1, 2018, to September 2, 2021.

But in November 2018, USCIS sent Xterra’s counsel a Request for Evidence (RFE) and Xterra Solutions submitted a response to the agency’s queries, however in February 2019, USCIS denied Xterra’s H-1B petition and the highly educated engineer Anisetty, with Master degree from a US university, had no choice but to be on H-4 dependent status.

Xterra argues through the complaint that Kathy A. Baran, the Director of the California Service Center (CSC), denied the petition on the sole ground that the position offered to Anisetty did not qualify as a specialty occupation, which is not clearly demonstrated because most Computer Systems Analysts have bachelor’s degrees in a computer-related field.

To strengthen the case, Xterra Solutions reached out to Dr. Robert S. Todd, Associate Professor of Computer Applications and Information Systems at the University of Bridgeport and a former Senior Systems Analyst, who stated his opinion regarding the minimum education requirement for the Business Systems Analyst position, “It is standard for a company such as Xterra Solutions, Inc. to hire a Business Systems Analyst and require that individual to have attained at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, or a related area.”

Professor Todd, who has worked in management and engineering positions, including a Senior Systems Analyst position at Dictaphone Corporation, stated through the court document that it is typical for an IT services and solutions firm to hire a Business Systems Analyst or someone in a similar professional position, and require the minimum attainment of a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, or a related area for the position.

In response to Professor Todd’s note, USCIS stated in the court document that “it is apparent that a Business Systems Analyst with the specific duties would be considered a for a professional position and it would normally be filled by a graduate with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Information technology, computer science, or a related area or the equivalent.”

However, the agency also says that the professor reached his conclusion by relying on the description of the position rather than on any specific study of the position. There is no evidence that the professor knew any more about the specific duties of the position then what was provided.

The professor does not demonstrate an assertion-depth knowledge of the business operation or how the duties of the position would actually be performed. There is no indication that the professor visited the company, observed the employees, interviewed them about the nature of their work, or documented the knowledge that they applied on the job. The professor has not provided sufficient facts that would support that the position requires at least a bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent in a specific specialty.

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