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Karmali v. INS

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
707 F.2d 408 (1983)


Gulamali Karmali (plaintiff) was born in Tanzania. Karmali later moved to Canada and became a Canadian citizen. In November 1976, Karmali started working for a closely-held Canadian corporation run by his brother-in-law. In April 1977, Karmali’s brother-in-law advanced Karmali money to purchase a business in Idaho. In July 1977, Karmali entered the United States to operate the business. Karmali remained in the United States and managed the business as an employee of his brother-in-law’s company. In December 1977, Karmali’s brother-in-law’s company filed a petition with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) (defendant) for an intra-company transfer visa on behalf of Karmali. The Immigration and Nationality Act (the act) required that an employee be employed continuously for one year for an intra-company transfer visa to be granted. Karmali’s petition was denied. The INS interpreted the language of the act to mean one year of continuous employment abroad prior to seeking admission into the United States. Thus, the INS determined that the Karmali did not qualify as an intra-company transfer because he entered the United States only eight months after he started working for his brother-in-law’s company in Canada. The denial was affirmed on appeal, as was the company’s motion for reconsideration. Karmali then filed a complaint in federal district court, arguing that the INS’s denial of the petition was arbitrary and capricious and without legal basis. Karmali contended that the act did not preclude a prospective intra-company transferee from spending part of the qualifying one-year employment period in the United States. Since Karmali was continuously employed by his brother-in-law’s company for over one year, Karmali argued that he had satisfied the requisite employment period by the time the company filed the petition. The judge concluded that the INS did not abuse its discretion in denying the company’s petition. The judge thus granted the INS’s motion for summary judgment. Karmali appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Choy, J.)

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