More guidance re: Kazarian final merits analysis for Outstanding Professors/Researchers
In a recent decision, a university petitioning for an Assistant Professor of Clinical Biostatistics won an appeal from the initial denial of their Outstanding Researcher case.
The opinion handed down on appeal gives some guidance as to how USCIS is approaching the final merits determination which is now the second part of an Outstanding Professor/Researcher adjudication per the 2010 Kazarian decision.
In this recent case, the opinion relied on the following criteria in making the final merits determination:
More specifically, outstanding professors and researchers should stand apart in the academic community through eminence and distinction based on international recognition...Employment-Based Immigrants, 56 Fed. Reg. 30703, 30705 (proposed July 5, 1991) (enacted 56 Fed. Reg.60897 (Nov. 29, 1991)).
What weighed very heavily in favor of the petition was the fact that the researcher had over one hundred independent citations to “the body of her work as of the petition’s filing date.” The opinion cited Kazarian: “…citations may be relevant to the final merits determination of whether an alien is at the very top of his field.” In addition, the Appeals Office determined: “This citation record is also consistent with a determination that her original research contributions to the field, discussed in the reference letters, are commensurate with international recognition.”
What is evident from this and other decisions coming down is that USCIS is looking at citations as objective verification of claims made in reference letters. Clearly, the more citations, the better.