Market Research Analyst

The Administrative Appeals Office (“AAO”) of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) on April 15, 2010 made a decision on an appeal case in a matter of whether the position of a Market Research Analyst is a professional job.

The employer of the case filed a secondary category of employment-based green card petition (EB-2) with the USCIS for the beneficiary in the position of Market Research Analyst. In a EB-2 petition, one main requirement is that the offered position needs a job candidate with an advance degree. In this the USCIS denied the petition on the ground that the offered position does not require an advanced degree professional. The employer then filed an appeal on the case.

The AAO looked to the definition of a “profession”, as defined in 8 C.F.R. 204.5(k)(2):

[O]ne of the occupations listed in section 101(a)(32) of the Act, as well as any occupation for which a United States baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent is the minimum requirement for entry into the occupation.

Based on this definition, the key point for the AAO to determine is whether a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for entry into the occupation of Market Research Analyst. The analysis then leads to look at how the Department of Labor classifies this occupation. Currently, the Department of Labor uses O*Net online database as the main source of occupation information.

The position of Market Research Analyst is classified under SOC code 19-3021 and within job zone four. The database states that 82% of individuals in this occupation hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. The AAO then sited the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Handbook listed the occupation of Market and Survey Researchers with the required education summarized as follows:

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for many market and survey researcher jobs. However, a master’s degree may be required, especially for technical positions.

The AAO opined that since not only both the O*Net and Occupation Outlook Handbook state a bachelor’s degree is the minimum for the position of Market Research Analyst, but also a master degree may be required under some circumstances, it concluded that the position is a professional one defined under the law. The AAO went further to analyze the beneficiary’s personal qualifications and found that the qualifications satisfied the requirements in the labor certificate. The USCIS’ denial was withdrawn and petition was approved.

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