Education RFEs, wage level issue RFEs, and specialty occupation RFEs require H1B hopefuls and their teams to enlist the help of credential evaluators and experts for writing expert opinion letters, particularly for specialty occupation issues and for the evaluation as well.
Choosing what evaluator or expert to work with can be daunting because writing evaluations for specific visa issues is a very specialized and detailed undertaking, and finding a credible expert is essential to the opinion letter carrying legitimacy in the eyes of CIS. When deciding on who to work with, here are 5 essential things to keep in mind:
1. Talk to the head of the agency.
Before you work with an evaluator or expert, make sure to talk directly with the head of the agency. This way, you can have your questions answered directly by the highest authority and any agreements you come to or expectations provided will be final. The second reason is that the head of the agency you want to work with should be available and willing to speak directly with customers. If this is not the case, you don’t want to work with them.
2. Ask the right questions and listen carefully to how they answer your questions.
Whether you’re talking to the director or to the expert or evaluator you will be working with, listen to their answers and notice how you feel when you talk to them. If you feel uncomfortable, there is probably a reason. Are they actually answering your questions to your satisfaction or are they talking AROUND answers. When you listen closely, you can easily make out who has depth of knowledge, both about their field of expertise and about working with visa and RFE cases. Do they ask about the job? Do they ask about the visa? If the answer to either of those questions is anything but yes, look elsewhere.
3. How long have they been in business?
The agency you want to work with has in depth experience working with visa cases and their RFEs. If they’ve been in business for less than ten years, you need to find out who the evaluator or expert was work for before to get a sense of their depth of knowledge.
4. Are their prices reasonable?
If they are charging too much, then look elsewhere. In this field, you don’t “get what you pay for.” The agency you want to work with makes it easy for you to work with them, and part of that is offering reasonable prices for quality service. On the other hand, if an agency is undercutting reasonably priced agencies, that’s also a red flag. It means they are likely cutting the corners you need to for H1B visa approval.
5. Is the agency a member of an organization with standards of excellence?
In the United States, there is no governmental oversight or set standards of excellence for credential evaluation. That means it’s up to the agencies themselves to hold themselves accountable to quality service. However, if an agency is a member of a professional organization that holds its members accountable like the International Center for Academic Excellence, you can be sure that the agency you’re working with does not oversight. Find out what professional organizations the agency belongs to and take a look at the organization’s requirements for membership and how the organization itself ensures its own accountability through the US Department of Education, the Better Business Bureau, or UNESCO. This sounds like a lot of work, but it’s only connecting just a few dots, and a little bit of research goes a long way and saves you from another RFE inquiring about the legitimacy of your evaluator or expert.
6. Ask questions specific to your case.
If your case is regarding an education situation, ask about their past experience working with the particular situation. If your case is regarding specialty occupation or wage level issues, ask specifically about how they have been able to handle those situations in the past. If you are facing issues regarding site visits, for example, ask, “Have you been able to handle site visits?” Again, listen carefully to their answer. If they throw out a generic answer, or an answer that doesn’t relate to the issue you asked about, look elsewhere.
At TheDegreePeople we have experts in all fields and credential evaluators on staff with an in-depth understanding of H1B visa requirements, international education, and undergraduate and graduate admissions in the United States. To work with our experts and expert evaluators visit ccifree.com/ for a free consultation to get started.
This article was written by Rebecca Little