Leverage National Interest Waiver to Help the U.S. Economy


Through Miatrai Brown

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Law360 (April 22, 2021, 5:49 p.m. EDT) –

Miatrai Brown

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has left sweeping changes across the country and the global economy. The pandemic has had a crippling effect on our sense of security, health, employment and community.

Specific to the US economy, the US unemployment rate peaked at 14.8% in April 2020.[1] In addition, part-time workers experienced unemployment rates almost twice that of their full-time counterparts at 24.5%.[2]

The National Interest Waiver, as explained below, is one method of obtaining a work permit that will reduce unemployment in the United States and boost the economy amid the pandemic.

An introduction to the renunciation of the national interest

The National Interest Waiver is an exemption from the program’s electronic examination management process, often referred to as the PERM labor certification process, and from the job offer requirements for holders of a degree. graduate or workers with exceptional abilities who apply for an EB-2 immigrant visa.

Obtaining this waiver is an employment-based immigration benefit used as part of the application to become a permanent resident of the United States.

Generally, in order to apply for an employment-based green card, the job market must be tested to determine if there is a U.S. citizen or green card holder willing and able to take on the job and responsibilities. However, the foreign national may circumvent this requirement through this waiver if the proposed effort is in the national interest of the United States.

Although “the national interest” is not defined by law, these exemptions are generally reserved for people who have an expertise far superior to that usually found in science, the arts or business, and whose employment would greatly benefit the nation.[3] The foreign national may work for a business in a role that serves the national interest of the United States, or the foreign national may open a business that is in the national interest of the United States.

While an application for a National Interest Waiver and Green Card is pending, a foreign national can simultaneously apply for an authorization to work in the United States, to work in the national interest, by means of a document of work authorization or a dual-purpose visa such as an H-1B or L-1 Visa.

This article will focus on topics related to COVID-19, including healthcare and the current unemployment rate in the United States, and proposed initiatives involving self-employment, as statistics have shown that foreign nationals are more likely to create businesses.[4]

If a foreign national obtains a work permit and becomes self-employed, additional U.S. workers are usually hired directly or indirectly to support the effort proposed by the foreign national.[5]

Because businesses need support, the foreign national will inject money and on-the-ground expertise into the US economy through the business.[6] Overall, the renunciation of the national interest allows the foreign national to work directly to promote the interests of the nation, while potentially reducing the unemployment rate, supporting the community and increasing the security of the members.

Open immigration channels to tackle recent challenges

The nation’s priorities have changed due to the pandemic. The importance of healthcare has reached unprecedented levels due to high hospitalization rates and deaths from COVID-19.[7] At the same time, layoffs have occurred at an alarming rate due to economic uncertainty. As the unemployment rate rose, it became more apparent that measures were needed to keep the U.S. economy running smoothly despite social distancing and other safety measures required by the state Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. -United.[8]

Understanding the intricacies and complexities of waiving the national interest, and positioning that immigration advantage for foreign nationals who are likely to create jobs for American workers once they receive a work authorization, is integral of the fight against the economic slowdown.

It would also allow more foreign-born healthcare workers to enter the United States and help the declining population.[9] Through this immigration channel, not only will the nation be in a better position to meet recent challenges, but it will be able to meet challenges sooner.

Potential impacts on the unemployment rate in the United States

With the recent changes in the economy and the needs of the nation, practitioners will see major impacts on business immigration as it relates to national interest waivers.

Foreign nationals working in the national interest are likely to open businesses and create new employment opportunities for American workers, thereby reducing the unemployment rate.[10] Whether the foreign national’s effort is health care, technology, security, or some other national interest, the country benefits from fewer unemployed people. Falling unemployment strengthens the US economy and eases the government’s financial burdens.

Practitioners will see changes in the types of petitions they file and the types of national interest waiver cases that U.S. citizenship and immigration services are likely to approve. Specifically, we are currently seeing higher approval rates in national interest waiver cases where the foreign national has opened a business to support a national interest and has hired American workers.

Another trend concerns approvals of efforts that help U.S. businesses negatively affected by COVID-19 or that help communities in economically disadvantaged areas. The pandemic has also brought additional visibility into how immigrants can be essential during times of unprecedented economic distress.

How to best prepare for these changes

The best preparation is to anticipate potential challenges, find a way to use immigration to further benefit the nation, and educate those who may be affected. Of course, this new pandemic was not necessarily predictable; However, our innovative response to change is what positions us perfectly to meet challenges and move forward positively.

Specifically, using the National Interest Waiver to further streamline the work of promoting the nation’s interests during a time of national and global distress is critical to the national response and the time of economic recovery. .

In addition, it is equally important to educate individuals on the availability of the national interest waiver. Recommendations for addressing these challenges are as follows:

  • Set realistic expectations for foreign nationals who are eligible for the prima facie immigration allowance and who intend to apply for this allowance.

  • Asking the foreign national to provide evidence to support their business plan in the United States This may include national and international research, business plans, and objective evidence of the foreign national’s significant expertise to advance the business. business.

  • Ensure the timely submission of the waiver so that the foreign national is in the best position as early as possible to serve the national interest of the United States quickly and effectively.

When setting expectations and reviewing evidence, each client will be unique. However, how we review, prepare and progress based on the information provided will affect all practitioners.

Specifically, opening up immigration channels through the waiver of the national interest for those qualified to directly benefit the United States is essential to ensure that we continue to tackle the issues most important to our nation. and our economy, especially in the midst of the pandemic.


Miatrai Brown is Director of Legal Operations and General Counsel at Hayman Woodward PLLC.

The opinions expressed are those of the author (s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the company, its clients or Portfolio Media Inc., or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be construed as legal advice.

[1] https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R46554.pdf.

[2] Identifier.

[3] https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/permanent-workers/employment-based-immigration-second-preference-eb-2.

[4] https://immigrationforum.org/article/immigrants-as-economic-contributors-immigrant-entrepreneurs/.

[5] https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/immigrants-to-the-us-create-more-jobs-than-they-take.

[6] Identifier.

[7] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/covid-view-past-summaries.html?Sort=Posted%20Date%3A%3Adesc.

[8] https://www.brookings.edu/research/turning-covid-19s-mass-layoffs-into-opportunities-for-quality-jobs/; https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2020-update-economic-well-being-of-us-households-employment.htm.

[9] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-professions-us-noncitizens/us-relies-heavily-on-foreign-born-healthcare-workers-idUSKBN1O32FR.

[10] https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/immigrants-to-the-us-create-more-jobs-than-they-take.

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