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Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)


The OOH is a Department of Labor database containing descriptions of occupations. The OOH does not cover every position, but does cover most occupations for which an SOC code exists.

USCIS relies on the OOH for its specialty occupation RFEs, commonly stating that, based on the OOH, the position is not one for which a “baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for entry.”

However, the OOH has a very clear disclaimer, stating:

The OOH describes the job outlook over a projected 10-year period for occupations across the nation; consequently, short-term labor market fluctuations and regional differences in job outlook generally are not discussed. Similarly, the OOH provides a general, composite description of jobs and cannot be expected to reflect work situations in specific establishments or localities. The OOH, therefore, is not intended to, and should never, be used for any legal purpose. For example, the OOH should not be used as a guide for determining wages, hours of work, the right of a particular union to represent workers, appropriate bargaining units, or formal job evaluation systems. Wage data in the OOH should not be used to compute the future loss of earnings in adjudication proceedings involving work injuries or accidental deaths.

BLS has no role in establishing educational, licensing, or practicing standards for any occupation; any such standards are established by national accrediting organizations and are merely reported by BLS in the OOH. The education information in the OOH presents the typical requirements for entry into the given occupation and does not describe the education and training of those individuals already employed in the occupation. In addition, education requirements for occupations may change over time and often vary by employer or state. Therefore, the information in the OOH should not be used to determine if an applicant is qualified to enter a specific job in an occupation.

If your evidence had that disclaimer, USCIS would correctly not find it credible.

Tell USCIS to apply the same standard to its own evidence.

Eren Yildirim