Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Newsflash – AAO issues a Precedent Decision on National Interest Waivers

The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has designated as precedential the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office's decision in Matter of Dhanasar, which may open the door for more broadly available National Interest Waivers (NIWs) for qualifying beneficiaries.  

Matter of Dhanasar supersedes the previous precedent, Matter of New York State Department of Transportation of 1998, and creates the following new legal standard for NIWs.  In order to qualify, the petitioner must demonstrate:

That the foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance. 

That he or she is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and

That, on balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirement of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security may, with the Attorney General’s approval, designate Administrative Appeals Office or other Department of Homeland Security decisions to serve as precedents in all future proceedings involving the same issue or issues. Precedent decisions are binding on Department of Homeland Security employees except as modified or overruled by later precedent decisions, statutory changes, or regulatory changes. Administrative Appeals Office precedent decisions may announce new legal interpretations or agency policy, or they may reinforce existing law and policy by demonstrating how it applies to a unique set of facts.

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