H-1B ‘speciality’ visas can be granted to computer programmers: US court

A recent decision by the US appellate court (referred to as ninth circuit) is a resounding victory for IT companies that seek to sponsor computer programmers for H-1B visas. The ninth circuit has deemed as arbitrary and capricious a decision of the US citizenship and immigration services, which had held that computer programmers are not entitled to H-1B ‘speciality’ occupation visas. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had in 2017 rescinded an earlier policy memo, which recognised the position of computer programmers as a ‘speciality’ occupation and thus eligible for H-1B Visas.

In this case, heard by the appellate court, Innova Solutions had sought to hire an Indian citizen to work as a computer programmer. The H-1B visa application was denied by USCIS.

A US employer who wants to sponsor staffers under the H-1B programme has to show that the position requires “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialised knowledge”.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

We need to address the basic question that how long are we going to beg for H-1B. We need to aim at staying in our country and serving the world from our home pitch then only we would succeed and respected.

H-1B programme has to show that position requires highly specialised knowledge

USCIS relied on the department of labour’s occupational outlook handbook, which states that ‘most’ computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree and it describes that degree as the ‘typical level of education that most workers require’. It denied the H-1B application on the grounds that Innova Solutions had failed to show that a computer programmer qualified as a ‘speciality’ post.

Cyrus D Mehta, New York-based founder of an immigration law firm, told media: “The decision is a refreshing rebuttal to USCIS’s longstanding practice of challenging computer programming on specialty occupation grounds. It reminds the USCIS that it can’t rely on the bureaucratic description… (for denials).”