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National Interest Waiver (NIW) strategy for finance professionals


Can finance professionals, such as financial managers, investment managers, and financial analysts, self-petition for a green card under the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) category? Assuming that the applicant qualifies for the EB-2 category by either having an advanced degree or exceptional ability, the question is whether the applicant can demonstrate their work will have broad enough impact to rise to the level of national importance, as opposed to primarily benefitting their immediate employer or their immediate clients.

Due to the nature of the profession, which often focuses on managing investment activities on behalf of clients to produce the greatest profit on behalf of clients, finance professionals tend to be one of the more challenging category of professions to build an NIW case for. However, with the right evidence and strategy, it is certainly possible. Here are some strategy tips to consider.

Focus on your innovations to the field of finance that can be followed on by other experts.

A recent AAO opinion analyzes a case filed by a financial manager, which ultimately was denied, but provides insights on the arguments and evidence that could have produced a positive outcome.  In this case, the applicant proposed to provide services as a financial manager, and to support companies in optimizing their resources and help them increase revenues, and develop and implement innovative strategies of performance indicator analysis within corporate departments, which would help companies reach higher performance goals.

Specifically, the petitioner’s plans included proposals to innovate in the way financial services are provided, which would foster small businesses, and implement modern and refined techniques in finance to influence the field.  On a broad level, the AAO recognized this may support a finding of national importance. However, in this case, the petitioner did not provide sufficient detail and supporting documentation about these claimed innovations. Specifically, the AAO noted the Petitioner did not explain what these modern and refined techniques were, how they will innovate the way financial services are provided, how Petitioner will implement and disseminate these techniques, and how this will foster small business.

Thus, to present a stronger case for NIW approval, a petitioner in the financial field must describe in sufficient detail how their work involves the development and implementation of innovations in the field of finance, and be prepared to support this with objective, third-party evidence of industry impact, for example, a patent for this innovation, media features, industry awards, conference presentations, internal and external industry reports, project metrics, etc.

Any claim to positive economic impact must be supported by robust data and must be sufficiently large scale.

Another aspect of the petitioner’s national importance argument was that their work would attract foreign direct investment to the US and foster job creation.  The government, however, needed more evidence of the scale of such investment and job creation in order to find this to satisfy the national importance argument.  The petitioner would need to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that these investment activities procured as a result of Petitioner’s work would create jobs at a magnitude that would properly considered to have national significance. Although there is no minimum dollar amount or number of jobs that the government gives for the threshold of national significance, AAO case law indicates that the scale must be enough to “substantially affect economic activity regionally or nationally,” which means a significant portion of the region must arguably be influenced by this. One notable angle is that employment of a significant population of workers in an economically depressed area can meet this requirement. To succeed on this angle, the record must include sufficient data and documentation to allow quantification of this prospective impact.

In conclusion, as a general matter it could be challenging for financial professionals to find a strong angle for qualification for a green card under the EB-2 National Interest Waiver category, but there are certain strategies that could support a winning case.

To learn more about the NIW, see our related posts below. You can also schedule a consultation at a date and time most convenient for you.

Related posts:

Can I qualify as for NIW green card as a finance analyst?

NIW Strategy for Entrepreneurs – how to successfully argue substantial merit and national importance

What kind of evidence can support National Importance?

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This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising. Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed. Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results. Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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