AAO Reverses A Bad Decision from the Texas Service Center for a Multinational Software Executive Project Manager
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (716) 604-4233 or (716) 768-6506 Page 1
AAO Reverses a Bad Decision from the Texas Service Center
for a Multinational Software Executive/Project Manager
ByJoseph P.Whalen (August 7,2014)
As I read through this AAO non-precedent decision involving the E1-3
multinational executive or manager immigrant visa category, in the case of
a computer software development and consultancy business’ I-140 petition
for a “Project Manager”, one part of it in particular just reached out and
grabbed my attention. On the one hand, I was somewhat taken aback by
what I perceive may have likely happened during the initial adjudication.
On the other hand, I was glad to see that AAO spotted it and reversed it.
The “it” I am stumbling my way towards is what I would have to describe as
a “Catch 22” situation or as a “sucker-punch” coupled with “jumping to
conclusions” or “mischaracterizing based on flawed profiling” taken “out of
context”. That bothers me. Does it bother you?
An Unacceptable Adjudication Approach
The offensive, repugnant, and reprehensible behavior was not
described as such by AAO. I just did that. I have highlighted various
passages in a “cut-n-pasted” version of the body of the text of the decision
on the following pages to make my point. You can be the judge of how well I
did on that aspect. Anyway, it seems that an adjudicator once again asked
for greater detail via a request for evidence (RFE) and then used it against
the petitioner in a denial. In addition, the adjudicator appears to have
relied upon flawed assumptions based on an irrelevant fact as to the
beneficiary’s initial entry as an H-1B “specialty occupation worker”. If one
brings that irrelevant factoid along while performing a flawed analysis
then, it is no wonder that the relevant critical factors and key elements
were not assessed from the proper perspective. In other words, some of
the information relied upon by the adjudicator was analyzed outside of its
proper context. Riddle me this Batman: What does the beneficiary’s H-1B
entry have to do with the actual job duties performed in a previous position
held overseas? Think about it. It will make more sense shortly.
Contact: email@example.com (716) 604-4233 or (716) 768-6506 Page 2
A Clear Warning Sign of a Potential Endemic Problem
That particular adjudicator had initial success in issuing a denial in
this particular case. I am wondering if that particular case was subjected to
any form of Supervisory Review or not. I definitely hope that that initial
decision did NOT get any form of “approval” following a Supervisory
Review. I also hope that it failed any Quality Assurance Review it may
have been subjected to. If flawed decisions like this are routinely slipping
through supervisory and/or quality assurance reviews then that would be a
serious systemic problem. Let us hope that this case represents an
aberration rather than a “norm”. Let us also hope that the unclear thinking
during that underlying adjudication was an aberration as well. Lastly, IF
similar poor quality adjudications are not tightly grouped, finite, and/or
isolated THEN there may be a wider training issue involved. IF a training
issue is at the heart of the problem THEN it may be time to revise the
training materials and perhaps the training methodology and approach.
Less CYA in favor of more substantive and thought provoking methods.
The July 15, 2014, AAO Sustained Appeal Decision
______ NON-PRECEDENT DECISION
DISCUSSION: The preference visa petition was denied by the Director, Texas Service Center. The matter is
now before the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) on appeal. The decision of the director will be
withdrawn and the appeal will be sustained.
The petitioner is a multinational corporation that operates as a computer software development and
consultancy business. The petitioner seeks to employ the beneficiary in the United States in the position of
project manager. Accordingly, the petitioner endeavors to classify the beneficiary as an employment-based
immigrant pursuant to section 203(b)(l)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act), 8 U.S.C. §
1153(b)(l)(C), as a multinational executive or manager.
Section 203(b) of the Act states in pertinent part:
(1) Priority Workers. --Visas shall first be made available ... to qualified immigrants who are aliens
described in any of the following subparagraphs (A) through (C):
* * *
(C) Certain Multinational Executives and Managers. --An alien is described in this
subparagraph if the alien, in the 3 years preceding the time of the alien's application for
classification and admission into the United States under this subparagraph, has been
employed for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation or other legal entity or an affiliate or
subsidiary thereof and who seeks to enter the United States in order to continue to render
services to the same employer or to a subsidiary or affiliate thereof in a capacity that is
managerial or executive.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (716) 604-4233 or (716) 768-6506 Page 3
The language of the statute is specific in limiting this provision to only those executives and managers who
have previously worked for a firm, corporation or other legal entity, or an affiliate or subsidiary of that entity,
and who are coming to the United States to work for the same entity, or its affiliate or subsidiary.
A United States employer may file a petition on Form I-140 for classification of an alien under section
203(b)(l)(C) of the Act as a multinational executive or manager. No labor certification is required for this
classification. The prospective employer in the United States must furnish a job offer in the form of a statement
which indicates that the alien is to be employed in the United States in a managerial or executive capacity.
Such a statement must clearly describe the duties to be performed by the alien.
After reviewing the petitioner's original supporting evidence as well as evidence that was provided in response
to a request for evidence (RFE), the director determined that the petitioner failed to establish that the
beneficiary was employed abroad in a qualifying managerial or executive capacity and therefore issued a
decision, dated December 11, 2013, denying the petition. In issuing the adverse decision, the director took into
account [of] [sic] the fact that the beneficiary entered the United States in the H-1B nonimmigrant category,
rather than as an L-1A intracompany transferee, finding this to be an indicator as to the beneficiary's
employment capacity in his former position with the foreign entity. The director also found that the
beneficiary's former employment included some non-qualifying job duties, which contributed to the adverse
Stylistic Notes and My Approach to Analysis
I have added highlighting to the key portions, in the copied pages, above
and below, that have influenced my opinions expressed in this article. For
instance, the beneficiary was initially brought to the U.S. as an H-1B rather than
as an L1-A. True that that can be meaningful if not explained and justified. It
seems from the reaction from AAO, that the RFE response was successful in
overcoming that slight quirk as a matter of law but that the center adjudicator
just wouldn’t let it go. Initial gut reactions are hard to release.
That being said, it is imperative to view each case individually, and only
loosely use “profiling” in a broad stroke manner. I admit that some amount of
profiling is natural, and is normally effective to initially steer a case review so as
to cover the major points quickly. In those cases where lingering doubts and
articulable concerns remain, an RFE is usually the best approach. Once the
response is received, the new evidence and/or arguments should be assessed
against the initial concerns as well as any new areas of concern that the new
evidence may bring forward. When assessing the response against the initial
concerns, one must step back mentally in order to keep a broad perspective and
an open mind. An adjudicator must be open to whatever is offered and view it on
its own terms and merit. An adjudicator cannot be locked into a rigid and limited
spectrum of “acceptable evidence” in their own mind or within their individual
limited experiences. If something novel comes along, talk to other adjudicators,
supervisors, or counsel, and consider certification to AAO. Novel or complex
questions of law or fact, and matters of first impression are all suitable for AAO
certification under 8 CFR § 103.4(b).
Contact: email@example.com (716) 604-4233 or (716) 768-6506 Page 4
______ NON-PRECEDENT DECISION
On appeal, counsel submits an appellate brief disputing the director's decision. Counsel questions the director's
reliance on the beneficiary's U.S. entry in the H-1B nonimmigrant visa category as a proper indicator of the
beneficiary's employment capacity in his former position with the foreign entity. Counsel also expounds on the
beneficiary's prior job duties, the organizational structure within which he carried out those job duties, and the
level of discretionary authority the beneficiary had over work matters and the professional personnel who
reported to him. Counsel challenges the director's implication that the beneficiary's knowledge of information
technology tools is an indicator that the beneficiary's time in his former employment with the foreign entity
was devoted primarily to carrying out non-qualifying operational tasks. Lastly, counsel explains why the
original job description, which the petitioner provided in the initial supporting statement, dated March 29,
2013, was different from the subsequent job description, which was included in the petitioner's RFE response
statement, dated September 4, 2013. Specifically, counsel asserts that the second job description was
intended to contain considerably greater detail based on the RFE instructions, which expressly indicated
that one of the goals in issuing the RFE was to elicit further, more detailed information about the specific
job duties the beneficiary performed during his employment with the foreign entity.
In general, when examining the executive or managerial capacity of the beneficiary, we consider the totality of
the record; we do not limit our review to the job description of the position(s) in question. Therefore, while the
director was correct in placing emphasis on the description of the beneficiary former employment with the
foreign entity, we find that further analysis of other elements is required and that the beneficiary's job
description should have been assessed in light of the organizational makeup and complexity of the division
within which the beneficiary was placed in his prior position with the foreign entity. Here, having given
thorough consideration to the beneficiary's job duties in light of these other highly relevant factors, we find that
the record in its totality contains sufficient evidence and information to overcome the director's adverse
While it is likely that the beneficiary did not allocate 100% of his time to managerial-level tasks, the petitioner
provided sufficient evidence to establish that the non-qualifying tasks the beneficiary performed were only
incidental to, rather than the focal point of, the position in question. An employee who "primarily" performs
the tasks necessary to produce a product or to provide services is not considered to be "primarily" employed in
a managerial or executive capacity. See sections 101(a)(44)(A) and (B) of the Act (requiring that one
"primarily" perform the enumerated managerial or executive duties); see also Matter of Church Scientology
International, 19 I&N Dec. 593, 604 (Comm. 1988).
Contrary to the director's finding, the record in the present matter indicates that the beneficiary's placement
within the former employer's organizational hierarchy, the professional employees whose work he supervised,
and the management-level job duties he performed all indicate that beneficiary more likely than not allocated
his time primarily to the performance of tasks within a qualifying managerial capacity, and that the petitioner
has therefore provided sufficient documentation to meet the preponderance of the evidence standard.
Accordingly, the director's decision must bewithdrawn.
In visa petition proceedings, the burden of proving eligibility for the benefit sought remains entirely with the
petitioner. Section 291 of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1361. The petitioner in the instant case has sustained that burden.
ORDER: The appeal is sustained.
A copy of the AAO Decision as it appears posted is appended below.
That’s my two cents, for now.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (716) 604-4233 or (716) 768-6506 Page 5
AAO’s Non-Precedent is found at: JUL152014_01B4203.pdf
Contact: email@example.com (716) 604-4233 or (716) 768-6506 Page 6
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (716) 604-4233 or (716) 768-6506 Page 7