CASE STUDY: Is “Business Administration” Too General for Specialty Occupation?
By: Mark Anthony Rogers
If you’re an immigration attorney or a petitioner seeking an H-1B visa, the degree requirement of a Bachelor’s in Business Administration can be a real headache. You know that even though the position is a specialty occupation, the term “Business Administration” is an obstacle, that it’s sometimes seen as “too general” by USCIS. You might be tempted to avoid the term “Business Administration” altogether when filing for fear of USCIS challenging the specialty nature of the position.
Park has handled this problem before. In this case, the RFE challenged read as follows: “The OOH does not indicate that Finance Manager positions normally require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specific specialty. A variety of degrees will allow for entry into this position. Generic degrees like business administration, the same degree the beneficiary holds, will qualify an applicant. Positions that allow for degrees that vary in their specialty generally do not qualify under the first criteria” (extract from a specimen RFE challenged issued by USCIS; emphasis added).
This sort of claim—that fields like Business Administration are “too general” for specialty occupation positions—has become a common trend in RFEs for Business Administration positions. In this case study, Park worked directly with our roster of Business Administration experts to devise strong argumentation against this challenge.
The Response – Flip the Script
Fighting this challenge requires recognizing, first of all, that Business Administration is general—there is no illusion about that. So, rather than setting them on a wild goose chase to prove the specificity of Business Administration, we advise the experts on a different tack. Instead, we asked them to show how generalist degrees still designate highly specialized bodies of knowledge and can therefore be required for specialty occupations.
Evaluate the Position
To accomplish this, the experts evaluated the position and determined that it required specialized knowledge within the more general field of Business Administration. Graduates of Business Administration programs, they argued, are trained in Accounting and Finance – Business Administration subfields. For this reason, Business Administration programs around the country typically offer Finance and Accounting as two of several specializations whose selection and progressive study would be required for graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Such a degree, therefore, typically signifies mastery of a highly specialized body of knowledge; furthermore, the specific body of knowledge within the larger umbrella of Business Administration depends on the beneficiary’s transcripts, and the nature of the position itself.
Draw the Nexus
We also asked the experts to take a look at the connection between the position in question and the Finance Manger occupational category in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. By correlating the beneficiary’s completed coursework with the duties listed for Finance Managers in the OOH, they found that the courses taken had direct application to the duties of the Finance Manager position. So, even though the ostensible topic of the beneficiary’s education was the generalist “Business Administration” master-category, in reality, Park’s letter showed, the beneficiary undertook specialized education in the body of knowledge directly related to the position.
Tying it All Together
Combined, these two arguments support the specialized nature of the position, explaining how on the one hand the inclusion of Business Administration in the degree requirement does not disqualify the position from being classified as a specialty occupation, and on the other hand, how the specialized knowledge of topics within Business Administration are required to complete the position’s main responsibilities.
Here at Park, we work diligently in consulting and coordinating with our various experts in addressing these more particular concerns our clients bring. With our understanding of the various and evolving range of RFE challenges USCIS makes, and the expertise of our industry experts in their respective fields, Park Evaluations offers services unmatched in quality and agility.
As an Operations Analyst at Park Evaluations, Mark Anthony Rogers helps to create evaluations for candidates seeking work visas in the US. After hours, Mark spends his time reading, working on his novel and short stories, and going to punk shows.