MATTER OFT- INC.
APPEAL OF VERMONT SERVICE CENTER DECISION
Non-Precedent Decision of the
Administrative Appeals Office
DATE: SEPT. 19, 2017
PETITION: FORM 1-129, PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER
The Petitioner, an information technology solutions provider, seeks to temporarily employ the
Beneficiary as an "information technology consultant (software quality assurance analyst)" 1 under
the H-lB nonimmigrant classification for specialty occupations. See Immigration and Nationality
Act (the Act) section 10l(a)(l5)(H)(i)(b), 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(l5)(H)(i)(b). The H-lB program
allows a U.S. employer to temporarily employ a qualified foreign worker in a position that requires
both (a) the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and (b)
the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a
minimum prerequisite for entry into the position.
The Director of the Vermont Service Center denied the petition, concluding that the Petitioner had
not established that the proffered position is a specialty occupation. In its appeal, the Petitioner
asserts that the Director erred in her findings.
Upon de novo review, we will dismiss the appeal.
I. LEGAL FRAMEWORK
Section 214(i)(l) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1184(i)(l), defines the term "specialty occupation" as an
occupation that requires:
(A) theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized
(B) attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its
equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
The Petitioner indicated on the H-1 B petition that the job title of the proffered position is "IT Consultant," but
elsewhere identified it as "IT Consultant (Software QA Analyst)."
Matter ofT- Inc.
The regulation at 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(h)(4)(ii) largely restates this statutory definition, but adds a non-
exhaustive list of fields of endeavor. In addition, the regulations provide that the proffered position
must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:
(I) A baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum
requirement for entry into the particular position;
(2) The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among
similar organizations or, in the alternative, an employer may show that its
particular position is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an
individual with a degree;
(3) The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or
( 4) The nature of the specific duties [is] so spec.ialized and complex that
knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the
attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree.
8 C.F.R. § 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(A). We have consistently interpreted the term "degree" to mean not just
any baccalaureate or higher degree, but one in a specific specialty that is directly related to the
proposed position. See Royal Siam Corp. v. Chertoff, 484 F.3d 139, 147 (1st Cir. 2007) (describing
"a degree requirement in a specific specialty" as "one that relates directly to the duties and
responsibilities of a particular position"); Defensor v. Meissner, 201 F.3d 384, 387 (5th Cir. 2000).
II. PROFFERED POSITION
The Petitioner initially stated that the Beneficiary would be assigned to provide services to its "direct
client" S-S-T- related to an ' project. The Petitioner indicated that the
Beneficiary would work at its client's "IT Development Center," located in Texas. In
response to the Director's request for evidence (RFE), the Petitioner stated that S-S-T- "is a software
development company that develops software solutions for its clients." On appeal, the Petitioner
submits documentation reflecting that S-S-T- develops the software for
two of its clients, S-and H-G-S-, Inc.
According to the Petitioner and S-S-T-, the duties of the proffered position are as follows: 2
• Design test plans, scenarios, scripts, or procedures.
• Test system modifications to prepare for implementation.
• Develop testing programs that address areas such as database impacts, software
scenarios, regression testing, negative testing or bug retests, or usability.
2 The Petitioner provided another job description which listed essentially the same job duties as these listed here.
Matter ofT- Inc.
• Document software defects, using a bug tracking system, and report defects to
• Identify, analyze, and document problems with program function, output, online
screen, or content.
• Monitor bug resolution efforts and track successes.
• Plan test schedules or strategies in accordance with project scope or delivery
• Participate in product design reviews to provide input on functional requirements,
product designs, schedules or potential problems.
• Review software documentation to ensure technical accuracy, compliance, or
completeness, or to mitigate risks.
• Document test procedures to ensure replicability and compliance with standards.
• Develop or specify standards, methods, or procedures to determine product
quality or release readiness.
• Update automated test scripts to ensure currency.
• Investigate customer problems referred by technical support
• Install, maintain, or use software testing programs
• Provide feedback and recommendations to developers on software usability and
• Monitor program performance to ensure efficient and problem-free operations.
• Conduct software compatibility tests with programs, hardware, operating systems,
or network environments
• Install and configure recreations of software production environments to allow
testing of software performance
• Collaborate with field staff or customers to evaluate or diagnose problems and
recommend possible solutions
• Identify program deviation from standards, and suggest modifications to ensure
• Design or develop automated testing tools.
• Coordinate user or third-party testing.
• Perform initial debugging procedures by reviewing configuration files, logs, or
code pieces to determine breakdown source
• Visit beta testing sites to evaluate software performance
• Evaluate or recommend software for testing or bug tracking.
• Conduct historical analyses of test results.
• Other related duties as assigned.
In a support letter provided with the petition, the Petitioner stated that the position required "at least
a Bachelor's Degree or its foreign equivalent in a specialized field of study that is directly related to
this position." In its RFE response letter, the Petitioner indicated that the position requires "a
Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science, Computer Information Systems or a related Engineering
Matter ofT- Inc.
We determine that the Petitioner has not demonstrated that the proffered position qualities as a
specialty occupation. Specifically, the record does not (1) describe the position's duties with
sufficient detail, and (2) establish that the job duties require an educational background, or its
equivalent, commensurate with a specialty occupatiorl.3
As a preliminary matter and as recognized in Defensor, 201 F.3d at 387-88, it is necessary for the
end-client to provide sufficient information regarding the proposed job duties to be performed at its
location(s) in order to properly ascertain the minimum educational requirements necessary to
perform those duties. In other words, as the nurses in that case would provide services to the end-
client hospitals and not to the petitioning staffing company, the Petitioner-provided job duties and
alleged requirements to perform those duties were irrelevant to a specialty occupation determination.
The Petitioner initially stated and provided evidence in support of the petition indicating that the
only end-client is its "direct client" S-S-T-. However, on appeal , the· Petitioner submits evidence,
including letters, from other end-clients for whom the software
development work is ultimately being performed. Despite submitting this new evidence on appeal,
the Petitioner does not explain in detail the nature of these relationships, nor does it provide
contractual documentation to substantiate and clarify the nature of the Beneficiary's services for
these other end-clients. For instance, although the Petitioner provides a purchase order relevant to
one of the other apparent end-clients H-G-S-, Inc. , the Petitioner does not submit the underlying
"Software Purchase Agreement" under which this purchase order was issued. It is also notable that
the submitted purchase order expired in July 2017, and is not accompanied by copies of
subsequently issued or renewed purchase orders. The Petitioner provides no contractual
documentation specific to the other apparent end-client S-; it only submits invoices to, and payments
from, that company dated more than a year before this petition's filing
In addition, none of the apparent end-client letters or documents reference the Beneficiary, his
duties, or the educational requirements of the proffered position. Due to the lack of explanation and
evidence related to these other end-clients, the record does not include sufficient information
regarding the proposed job duties f