Market Research Analysts can now apply for H-1B visa, after USCIS settles lawsuit


In a big win for those who are in market research trying to find a job in the US market, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has come to an agreement to market research analysts as a valid candidate who can now apply for H-1B visas.

Several immigration groups and individuals the American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and pro bono attorneys, had come together to file suit against USCIS saying that the immigration agency has been arbitrarily and illegally rejecting H-1B petitions for market research analysts, claiming that the position did not qualify as a specialty occupation.

According to USCIS, they defended that the rejections were based on the entry in the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) for market research analysts.

USCIS decisions relied on the OOH as a definitive statement that market research analyst positions typically do not require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to qualify for the position, an integral part of Category H-1B.

Now that the case is settled, the immigration agency will clarify that the OOH description demonstrates the role as a specialty occupation as long as the position requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field with an official minor, major, concentration, or specialization in the market research, Marketing or research methods.

With this settlement, employers can also ask USCIS to reopen their H-1B petition, which was submitted on January 1, 2019, and to make a new decision.

As a background for this case, the position must meet at least one of four criteria in order to qualify as a specialty for an H-1B visa.

The first criterion is that a post-secondary degree (Bachelor or higher) is usually the minimum requirement for starting a career. Second, it is common to require a degree for parallel positions at similar organizations in the industry. Third, the employer usually requires a degree (or equivalent) for the position. Or finally, the tasks of the position are so specialized and complex that a bachelor’s degree or higher degree is required.

The settlement specifically addresses the first criterion. USCIS originally denied plaintiffs’ H-1B petitions, concluding that it does not require at least a bachelor’s degree to become a market research analyst.