The Administrative Appeals Office ("AAO") decided an important case last month for physicians applying for immigrant visas (commonly referred to as "green cards") in the National Interest Wavier category. In its decision in Matter of H-V-P-, the AAO rejected the Texas Service Center's ("TSC") attempt to change a longstanding agency interpretation based upon a single decision. In most categories of employment-based immigrant visas, applicants usually need a job offer from a U.S. employer. In this recent decision, however, the AAO recognized that the law requires USCIS to waive the job offer requirement for both primary and specialty care physicians who work full-time in an area with a shortage of health care professionals (and meet other requirements not at issue in this case). The AAO concluded TSC's narrow interpretation of the regulation as requiring a specific specialty care shortage certification was inconsistent with past USCIS practice and would "frustrate the statutory scheme Congress enacted to improve access to medical care in underserved areas."
If you have questions about the National Interest Waiver category or visa options for physicians, please contact the attorneys at Iandoli Desai & Cronin P.C. at firstname.lastname@example.org.