Common H-1B Issues to Anticipate this Adjudication Season

In the next few months, H-1B petitioners and beneficiaries will find out if their petitions have been selected in the lottery, and accepted for approval.

We predict this year will follow the trend of the previous few years with an increase in H-1B issues that block beneficiaries from outright approval. What is unclear is whether beneficiaries will be receiving RFEs or Denials in response to these issues. Last year, adjudicators were given the authority and encouragement to deny petitions outright without offering an RFE as an opportunity to respond questionable cases. This was announced in a USCIS memorandum along with several other changes to the H-1B selection and adjudication process, some of which went into effect this lottery season, and some of which did not.

One thing is certain: preparation is key. It is FAR from impossible to overturn a Denial. You just need to stay one step ahead of the game. That means understanding what about your case may raise red flags, and that means going back to the basic H-1B eligibility requirements and taking an honest look at where your case may fall short.

Employer-Employee Relationship

Small businesses often run into trouble here if they cannot clearly show in the LCA that they can afford to pay the prevailing wage to the H-1B worker and maintain economic viability. Another big issue is when the beneficiary is an owner, founder or co-founder, or sole proprietor of the business. H-1B workers must have their work, wage, and employment status controlled by an employer to meet this requirement and beneficiaries cannot self-petition for this visa. If this is the situation, there must be a CEO or board of directors different from the H-1B worker that fills this role to prove an employer-employee relationship exists in the arrangement.

Wage Level

The H-1B employee must make the prevailing wages for the position. Factors that influence the prevailing wage include industry standards, company size, geographic location, and more. Workers making level one wages often run into issues. In a response to an RFE or Denial, you must articulate all of the factors that went in to setting the wage level and an expert opinion letter that assures the prevailing wage requirement has been met.

Specialty Occupation

For the last two H-1B seasons, this RFE has spiked in prevalence and is often linked with wage level issues. If you, or your employee or client’s job sometimes requires a US bachelor’s degree or higher, but not always, or if this job is particularly specialized, you need to take extra steps to meet this requirement. That means providing a detailed breakdown of the duties and tasks of the job, as well as the advanced knowledge, skills, and understanding that must be applied every day in this position. You will also need to show that a US bachelor’s degree or higher is a typical minimum requirement for this job as either an industry standard, or as a company standard as evidenced in the ad for the job and in past hiring practices. An expert opinion letter must also be included to lend validity to and analysis of the documentation provided by your team.

Educational Requirements

H-1B requires the beneficiary have a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. Foreign degrees that are not accompanied by the right credential evaluation raise red flags, especially the Indian three-year bachelor’s degree. The right credential evaluation takes the H-1B job into consideration and makes the necessary work experience conversions and detailed course breakdowns necessary to fill in any gaps between the job and the degree as the degree must be in the exact field of the H-1B job to address the demands of a specialty occupation. Incomplete college or no college experience must be compensated for with work experience conversion that must be written by a professor with the authority to convert work experience into college credit.

Any situation out of the ordinary or that is not completely straightforward can raise a red flag, which in turn triggers and RFE or Denial. At TheDegreePeople.com we work with RFE and Denial cases every year. We know what to look for and we know how to successfully address it. For a free review of your case visit ccifree.com/. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.