The EB1-OR category was created for Outstanding Professors and Researchers in order to speed up the process for outstanding professors and researchers to become permanent residents. One of the requirements for EB1-OR is that the alien beneficiary receives a permanent job offer from the sponsoring employer. The USCIS has clarified the definition of “permanent employment” when considering EB1-OR petitions.
According to current definitions, “permanent” is defined as “either tenured, tenure-track, or for an indefinite or unlimited duration, and in which the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of continued employment unless there is good cause for termination.”
A major concern for many has been research positions that are based on grant money received yearly. This usually means that the researchers are employed on one-year contracts. The USCIS says that if the employer petitioning for the alien shows the intention to continue to get funding and gives a reasonable expectation that funding will continue, then the employment may be considered “permanent.”
The USCIS has asked adjudicators to take into consideration the circumstance of the job and its benefits. If a research position has a term limit of one year, but evidence is provided that the job will be continued beyond that one year, then it can be considered a permanent job.
This is good news for many petitioners who employee researchers or are researchers. In the past, researchers may have been reluctant to file an EB1-OR petition since the job was not permanent, but was instead determined by funding on a yearly basis.
Now, instead of having to file through a process such as EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW), employers wishing to employee researchers may be able to file through EB1-OR, which in some cases has a shorter wait time than the NIW. This means that the employee can start working for his/her employer sooner.