Wednesday, February 23, 2011

AAO on "event" for O-1 purposes

"The regulatory definition of "event" provides only a short list of examples of qualifying activities and specifically states that it is not an exhaustive or definitive list, thus suggesting that officers would have the discretion to determine on a case-by-case basis what constitutes a qualifying "event." The definition includes among the list of qualifying activities the term "engagement" which is commonly defined as "employment, especially for a given period of time," or "a period of employment." ... The director's narrow interpretation of what constitutes a qualifying "event" is untenable as it would essentially prohibit private sector employers from hiring 0-1 scientists, engineers, and business leaders. ... Given that the regulations allow for an initial three-year period of stay, consistent with other employment-based nonimmigrant classifications such as the H-1B and L-1 categories, it is reasonable to believe that the "engagement" included in the regulatory. defmition of "event" may include a three-year offer of employment in the alien's area of extraordinary ability, including the "normal" duties of one's profession."  Appeal sustained.

Matter of X-, WAC 10 018 51674, Oct. 1, 2010.  [Hats off to Jean Ann Enns.]

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