Case Study: H1B Specialty Occupation RFE – OVERTURNED

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Last year, we saw an influx of RFEs regarding whether the job in question was specialized to meet H1B requirements.

To meet H1B specialization requirements, the position must require a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree or higher, or its equivalent for entry into the position. This must be an industry standard, or you must prove that this position is uniquely specialized so as to require the employee to hold an advanced degree. If CIS has any reason to doubt the job meets specialization requirements, they will issue an RFE.

The most common occupation in question last season with computer programmers making level 1 wages. This RFE was widespread and had candidates, employers, and their lawyers blindsided. At TheDegreePeople, we were able to get the vast majority of these RFEs overturned. One of these cases was a man with a US bachelor’s degree in computer programming. He was hired as a computer programmer at level 1 wages because he was fresh out of college and although he had the skills and knowledge from his college education, he had very little on the job experience and would need a high level of training and supervision to start. Therefore, his employer set the position at level 1 wages.

While there was no question about our client’s educational eligibility, CIS issued an RFE about the job. This is because in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, it states that sometimes employers will hire entry level computer programmers with only a US associate’s degree, even though a bachelor’s degree is the norm.

There were two problems with CIS’ reasoning for this RFE:

  1. A position being set at level 1 wages does not mean it is an entry level position. There are many factors that go into determining what wage level a position is set at.
  2. Most employers require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree for this position, and that is what the standard SHOULD be for determining the overall level of specialization for a given position. The norm, not the exception, should define the rule.

With an expert opinion letter from TheDegreePeople, the RFE was overturned and our client’s visa was approved.

If you, or your employee or client receives a Specialty Occupation RFE, let us help you. Visit We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with a no-charge and no-obligation review of your case.

This article was written by Rebecca Little