Case Study: Software Developer H1B RFE Overturned

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When CIS suspects that a job does not meet H1B requirements for specialty occupation, in the past they would issue an RFE.  This year, beneficiaries are likely to just get a Denial.

Over the next three weeks, we will look at three different jobs that have been specialty occupation RFE magnets in the past, what was done to effectively overturn them, and how to use this information to preempt a Denial this coming H1B season.

Borderline jobs that sometimes require a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent, but not always, or companies with past hiring practices of hiring candidates less qualified than specified H1B requirements for specialty occupation are at higher risk of running into trouble.  One common job that runs into trouble is software developer.

Last year, a beneficiary came to us with a specialty occupation RFE for this very position.  She had the proper degree in software development and the work experience to back it up.  The beneficiary wasn’t the problem, the job description was.  The duties outlined in the petition did not clearly and exactly meet the duties and responsibilities outlined in the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook for that position at the wage level set for her.

We answered the RFE with an expert opinion letter from an expert in the field of software development thoroughly explaining that her job duties and responsibilities DID meet specialization requirements and highlighting why her wage level was set as it was.   This was accompanied by a detailed breakdown of her specialized duties and responsibilities on the job.

Last year, we were able to get the RFE overturned.  This year, with the new CIS memorandum that gives adjudicators the jurisdiction to deny petitions without an RFE, she might not have been so lucky.  A Denial can be overturned, but it is much harder.  As with an RFE, Denials are much easier to prevent than to overturn.

Including an expert opinion letter to preempt a specialty occupation RFE with the initial petition is advised.  If you or your employee or client is a software developer petitioning for H1B status for FY2020, it’s more important this year than ever to make sure you have all of your bases covered.

For a free review of your case, visit  We offer expert opinion letters, credential evaluations, and consulting services tailored to the individual needs of each client, their education, their job, and their visa.

This article was written by Rebecca Little