On Friday, March 31, 2017, USCIS published a policy memorandum which provides updated guidance to USCIS adjudicating officers as to whether certain computer-related positions qualify as a specialty occupation. A speciality occupation is one that requires the attainment of a Bachelor’s or higher degree (or its equivalent) in a specialized field.
The media has been broadcasting this story widely, and we have had many clients ask about this. In our view, the media is blowing this story out of proportion and not appropriately reporting the facts surrounding this memo.
Please note that this new policy memo is not a policy change, but it reaffirms the longstanding current policy that is and has been followed by the California Service Center ("CSC") and the Vermont Service Center ("VSC"), since they have been the only two service centers that have been previously adjudicating H-1B petitions. The Nebraska Service Center ("NSC") and the Texas Service Center ("TSC") were previously focused primarily on Green Card applications but because of the recent overload of H-1B petitions, USCIS has now assigned H-1B petitions to the NSC to process. As such, this memo is USCIS' reminder to the NSC adjudicating officers that the old policy issued in December 2000 on Computer Programmers (established by the old NSC Director) no longer applies, and that the policy established after the NSC stopped processing H-1Bs (already used by CSC and VSC) should apply across the board. So, in short, there is no real change here. Here is an article that clears this up.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let us know.