It’s the New Year and that means H1B filing season is coming up sooner than you expect. We predict that last years educational trends will still be influential in 2017. Over the past six or seven years, educational trends regarding H1b approval have gotten more strict and specific. At the same time, several recurrent H1B traps have also presented themselves.
Before you file in 2017, be aware of CIS approval trends and common mistakes candidates make when filing.
Three-Year Bachelor’s Degrees
CIS has not been approving candidates with three-year bachelor’s degrees, PARTICULARLY the Indian three-year bachelor’s degree. International education experts understand that in most cases the academic content is the same if not greater than a US four-year bachelor’s degree just condensed into three years. CIS still requires the missing fourth year be accounted for, and that’s what really matters in this situation.
If you or your employee or client has a three-year bachelor’s degree, DO NOT make the mistake of submitting an H1B petition without making sure the missing fourth year is CLEARLY accounted for. This requires a detailed credential evaluation written by an evaluator with the authority to convert years of work experience into college credit. CIS allows for three years of work experience in the field in which the candidate took on progressively more roles, duties, and responsibilities of increasing complexity to be evaluated as the equivalent of one year of college credit. Talk to a credential evaluator with experience working with H1B cases involving three-year bachelor’s degrees.
Degree Specialization does not match the Job Offer
In the not-too-distant past, CIS would approve candidates with degrees in fields related to their industry. However, the past six or seven years has shown that CIS will ONLY approve petitions in which the degree specialization exactly matches the job offer, and we don’t predict that this trend will change any time soon.
If you or your employee or client has a degree in a major that is different from his or her field of employ, or has a generalized degree, or has an job that doesn’t have many exact majors like Computer Systems Analysis, DO NOT make the mistake of filing with the transcripts alone. The H1B visa is for workers in highly specialized occupations and a highly specialized skill set. If your education or if your employee or client’s education alone does not show that he or she possesses the specialized skills and knowledge necessary for the field of employ, the H1B requirements are not CLEARLY met. This doesn’t mean that the candidate isn’t qualified, especially since the employer clearly seems to think so. What you need to do in this case is send your or your employee or client’s transcripts and work history to a credential evaluator who can write a detailed evaluation that explains the equivalency of your experience, or your employee or client’s experience to a Bachelor’s degree in the right specialization. This means looking at the course content, as well as years of progressive work experience in the field, and writing a thorough evaluation backed by evidence, precedent decisions, and documentation.
Degree that Doesn’t Call itself a “Degree”
Some certifications from countries outside of the US are the functional equivalent of US bachelor’s degrees. This means that while these degrees don’t call themselves “degrees,” the steps required to earn these certifications are the equivalent of the US academic value of a bachelor’s degree. One such certification is the Indian Chartered Accountancy. While the Canadian Chartered Accountancy and the US CPA are do not contain the steps required for a bachelor’s degree equivalency, the Indian Chartered Accountancy does.
If you or your employee or client has a degree that doesn’t call itself a degree like the Indian Chartered Accountancy, DO NOT make the mistake of filing without a credential evaluation that explains the functional equivalency of your education or your employee or client’s education. This is a very detailed process that requires a lot of CIS hand-holding, taking them through the steps of education of the degree step by step.
About the Author
Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.
This article was written by Rebecca Little