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Immigration Law Blog

Friday, December 29, 2017

USCIS clarifies its position with respect to TN nonimmigrants employed as “Economists”

As of November 20, 2017, USCIS has clarified its position with respect to TN nonimmigrants employed as “Economists.”

 

Going forward, USCIS will consider an “Economist” an individual who engages in activity such as:

  • Conducts research, prepares reports, or formulates plans to address economic problems related to the production and distribution of goods and services or monetary and fiscal policy;
  • Collects and processes economic and statistical data using sampling techniques and econometric methods.

 

Excluded from this definition are Financial Analyst, Market Research Analyst, and Marketing Analyst occupations.

 

Therefore, individuals who work in these other occupations related to the field of economics are not eligible for TN classification as “Economists.”

 

In addition to affecting petitions for initial TN status, this new policy may also impact organizations who currently employ TN Economists, both at the expiration of their status and, potentially, upon return from travel abroad.  However, it is not definitively known at this time whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has changed or will change its policy to align with USCIS (note that CBP does have the authority to refuse admission to anyone it deems inadmissible including those who fail to present proper documents pursuant to §INA 212(a)(7)).  Similarly, the Department of State as of yet has not revised its policy on NAFTA Professionals [contained in the Foreign Affairs Manual at 9 FAM 402.17].   

 

Finally, due to the USCIS policy change, note that other options such as H-1B classification should be considered in these types of situations. 

 

We will update this blog on this topic as relevant information becomes available.

 


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