Class Certification Granted in H-1B Lawsuit
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has granted class certification in MadKudu Inc. v. USCIS, et al., to a group of employers who claim that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is systematically denying H-1B visa petitions filed for market research analyst occupations. The employers argue that USCIS has a pattern and practice of erroneously denying H-1B petitions for market research analysts based on its misapplication of the first regulatory test for a “specialty occupation” (i.e., a position qualifies as a specialty occupation if “[a] baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the particular position”), as well as misreading the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) profile for market research analysts. In the lawsuit, the employers identified at least 60 H-1B denials for market research analysts over the past three years and alleged that if USCIS had properly interpreted and applied the statute, the regulations, and the OOH profile, it would have approved the H-1B petitions. While the certification does not render a decision on the substance of the issue, it allows the parties to seek a remedy for all businesses that employ market research analysts and indicates a path forward for employers.
Lizbeth M. Chow contributed to this article.