OVERTURNING A CHALLENGING H-1B RFE FOR ACUPUNCTURIST INTO SWIFT APPROVAL
- Nationality: China
- Case: I-129 Petition for H-1B Visa
- Education: Master of Science in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine
- Time: 1 Month
- Acupuncture clinics do not typically specify the exact major of study required for the position.
- Acupuncture clinics generally do not publicly state standard recruitment qualifications.
- Students of generalized medicine and specialties in other areas are accepted into Acupuncture training programs.
- Unlike medical schools, acupuncture studies readily admit students with no background in medicine, biology, or chemistry.
- The California Board of Acupuncture states that a tutorial program would suffice as necessary education for an acupuncture license.
- Acupuncture is generally not perceived as a professional medical study in society due to the types of symptoms it treats.
Whenever patients share with Ms. Song how her treatments alleviated their pain for the first time in months, she folds her hands and smiles. Besides reducing pain, her treatments have had a major impact on her clients by reducing stress, improving sleep, lifting or stabilizing moods, or improving energy. Ms. Song always felt great satisfaction in taking her skills and using them to improve lives. Because her work was so important, professional, and highly valued, Ms. Song could never understand why her profession was so poorly regarded by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Like many other medical professionals, Ms. Song had worked and studied extremely hard to get to where she is and in order to continue to help people, she wanted to make sure her visa status was more stable.
Due to the fact that 220,000 people a year apply for H-1B, there is a hard cap of 85,000 people of how many H-1B applications the United States will accept, so Ms. Song felt fortunate to have been selected to apply. However, her employer’s petition received a long and detailed Request for Evidence (RFE) from the USCIS. Many of her acupuncturist friends’ H-1B applications had been denied in the past, so Ms. Song felt overwhelmed and pessimistic. She already had so many things in her life to worry about and this RFE felt crushing. She was anxious that USCIS wouldn’t view her career as professional and specialized or that they would claim she didn’t need her extensive degree to practice acupuncture. Fortunately, she turned to Tsang and Associates who knows the law and how to fight for you. We took the case out of her hands and into the hands of a specialized H-1B team so that she could focus her life knowing that there are professionals doing everything in their power to fight for her.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
One of the hardest aspects of an H-1B when petitioning for an acupuncturist position is to prove is how a formal degree in acupuncture is normally a minimum requirement. This is because the industry saw employment of acupuncturists with education in other majors, and the requirement to take the acupuncture license does not include a specialized degree.
For this case, Tsang and Associates had to prove that hard aspect. According to the USCIS, the evidence submitted did not establish eligibility because O*Net (The Occupational Information Network — an online database containing hundreds of occupational definitions) defined an acupuncturist as Job Zone Five but did not indicate the requirement of a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in any specific specialty, nor a requirement for a particular major or academic concentration.
We didn’t let this problem stop us. In order to prove our case, we carefully researched what an acupuncturist did and found evidence that (1) It is a highly professional medical profession, and (2) just like any other medical profession, it requires extensive schooling. After conducting extensive research, our specialized H-1B legal team provided the following exhibits as a response to the letter.
First, we presented information from describing the acupuncturist profession as one requiring a Master of Arts degree. Then we presented evidence from a specialty department in our government stating that the profession normally requires a BA or higher. We further explained the license requirements in detail for educations required in acupuncture. After that, we presented evidence from a highly respected acupuncturist council’s website showing that a specialized master’s degree is required for an entry-level acupuncturist position and also evidence from a respected acupuncturist commission showing the qualifications required for the position including holding a master’s degree. We introduced several Professional articles from trade publications supporting the proposition that acupuncture practice is complex enough to require at least a bachelor’s degree, thereby meeting the USCIS requirement.
Our legal teams’ ability to gather the evidence and craft careful research and analysis of the law was used to craft a thorough argument that made sure to give the immigration officer more than enough information that clearly proves that a bachelors degree at least is required.
Seeing how difficult it was for her acupuncturist colleagues to get approved for the H-1B visa made Ms. Song anxious and pessimistic about the outcome. However, to her surprise she received approval notice within only a week. She no longer has to worry about her visa status. She is back at work using her training and specialized skills in acupuncture to improve the health and wellbeing of her patients. She is free to continue to help people and have the life in the United States she worked so hard for. Tsang and Associates is honored to have played an important role in making her American dream come true.
*Name has been changed to protect client identity
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