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Bird Flu Specialist’s Immigrant Petition Approved Based Upon National Interest Waiver

A person may file an I-140 Immigrant Petition on his or her own behalf if he or she is a member of the profession holding an advanced degree or is claiming exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, and is seeking an exemption of the requirement of a job offer in the national interest (NIW).

Neither the statute nor pertinent regulations define the term "national interest." Additionally, Congress did not provide a specific definition of "in the national interest." The Committee on the Judiciary merely noted in its report to the Senate that the committee had "focused on national interest by increasing the number and proportion of visas for immigrants who would benefit the United States economically and otherwise..." S. Rep. No. 55, 101st Cong., 1st Sess., 11 (1989).

The specific test used by the Administrative Appeals Office to establish "national interest" is whether the petitioner's contributions in the field are of such unusual significance that the petitioner merits the special benefit of a national interest waiver. A petition must demonstrate a past history of achievement with some degree of influence on the field as a whole.

A client of mine has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree and a Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine that appears to satisfy the advanced degree prong. However, at first glance his occupation as a livestock specialist did not appear to demonstrate that his contributions would be national in scope.

A more detailed review of our client's C.V. and list of publications reveal that he is a livestock specialist who has published several scientific papers including the World Bank reports on the following: China Agriculture, Asia livestock production, Avian Influenza strategy control reports for Indonesia, Vietnam, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Jordan, Syria; FAO Regional Technical Cooperation Program reports for Middle East, North, West and East Africa, Central Asia

We decided to file an I-140 petition based on National Interest Waiver. During the process, we received requests for evidence pertaining to 1) the applicant's research, skills or contributions to the field 2) extensive and frequent citation to his research and the names of the specific independent researchers citing his research; 3) and evidence that the applicant's work has relevance to national scope.

We responded to the government's request for evidence with recent news articles from National Geographic and reports from top officials of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations. We cited research on government website, reports from the White House such as "The National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza" and statements from top officials predicting that the bird flu virus that has plagued Asian countries could kill up to 50 million people if not contained. We also included numerous letters from independent researchers and even U.S. Congressman attesting to the value of the applicant's contribution to the national interest.

With the voluminous evidence submitted to the government, we were able to demonstrate that our client's contributions in the field are for not only national in scope but for of global importance: By delaying or preventing the entry of Avian Influenza into the US, thereby preventing (a) massive damage to the poultry industry and related stakeholder livelihoods, but more importantly, (b) preventing the much dreaded human pandemic which could spill into the US from infected countries, and could, according to projections by World Health Organization, result in tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of human deaths.

While many attorneys would probably only take a cursory glance at a client's curriculum vitae and not peruse through an extensive list of publications, it is amazing what a careful review could reveal. An applicant could have all the proper degrees and credentials that would be buried in an attorney's office if it was not given proper thought and consideration. It is wise to find an attorney who would carefully review your curriculum vitae and find ways to help you satisfy the national interest waiver prong whether in the sciences, arts, or business.

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