Court Ruling Acknowledges Foreign Chefs with Specialized Knowledge

According to the "factual background" included in a recent decision, after many years and over 200  successful  L -1B visas approved ackowledging the special skill of particular chefs, there was a sudden denial.  The petition for Rones Gasparetto’s, a Brazilian churrasqueiro at Fogo de Chao (“Fogo”) was rejected by the Vermont branch of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), stating that, in order to qualify for a L-1B visa, the applicant must have a “specialized knowledge.” The finding concluded that “Gasparetto did not appear to be employed in a specialized knowledge capacity”.  This denial caused Fogo, to expand its “gaucho way” of grilling meat to a legal roasting of USCIS.

Fogo de Chao, owners and operators of a chain of upscale churrascarias, or Brazilian steakhouses, in  both Brazil and the United States, emerged victorious in a 2-1 decision by the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday.  The three judge panel agreed that “culturally acquired knowledge” can be considered specialized knowledge.

This decision supports what the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) (see 2012 letter to President Obama and memo to USCIS Director Mayorkas) and  employers who use the L-1 visa have been saying for years.  There needs to be a consistent and clear definition used when agencies are determining eligibility for employees under the L-1B program.  Put another way, culture, local customs and culinary traditions stem from ancient methods and nuances that cannot be easily duplicated by simply learning recipes and cooking techniques.

Discuss the strengths of your L-1 visa application with an experienced Immigration Law attorney at IBLF: (202) 296-1111, Toll Free (800) 844 - IBLF (800 - 844 - 4253) or or Contact Us on the web.