In connection with the 2007 adjustment of status (I-485) filing “blizzard” and due to the fact that there are many I-485 applicants who are hoping to switch jobs, our office has handled numerous AC21 green card porting cases. One of the most frequent questions we receive is whether a new proposed job position is “same or similar” for purposes of complying with AC21 and meeting its requirements.
Generally, a new job should be in the same job classification as the job for which the approved immigrant petition was filed. For example, an adjustment applicant working as Computer Analyst, where the PERM/I-140 were filed for Computer Systems Analysts (SOC code 15-1051.00) classification should be able to switch to a new job which fell under the same classification – 15-1051.00.
In a recent teleconference, the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) provided some unofficial but helpful guidance on their reasoning and practice when adjudicating AC21-related cases. NSC was asked to provide some guidance as to their criteria in adjudicating the “same or similar” job standard. In response, NSC confirmed that the “same or similar” has not been a significant issue because NSC has been applying a “common sense” approach – NSC has confirmed that most petitions invoking AC21 portability based on similar occupations are indeed usually similar, i.e. accountant doing another accounting position, IT consultant working in the IT field. On the other hand, IT worker making “slurpees at the 7-Eleven” would not be considered to qualify under AC21.
While this conference call and the information about the “common sense” approach NSC takes with respect to AC21 review does not state the official USCIS position, it nonetheless provides a helpful insight into the operations and standards at NSC. Also, it should serve to provide some relief and flexibility to the thousands of I-485 adjustment applicants who are seeking to switch jobs but when the new proposed jobs are not exactly similar to the jobs for which they were initially sponsored.