Credential Evaluation

Answering an H1B RFE: Beware of Education Traps!

Badly Translated TranscriptsWhen you submit an H1B petition, CIS requires all educational documents be translated into English and evaluated for US academic equivalence. Some degrees simply don’t translate directly into English. At the same time, many degrees do translate directly into English when it comes to the wording, but the degree has an entirely different academic content. This is why degrees must be translated AND evaluated, and these are both highly specialized fields. Sometimes translation agencies overstep their scope of practice and make educational value judgments along with language translation. This is a major H1B education trap that has become more and more treacherous as some translation agencies have begun to market their services as a “one-shop stop” for translation and evaluation. Credential evaluation must be carried out on a case-by-case basis because every pathway through learning is unique, every institution is unique, and every country has a unique structure. An evaluator must be knowledgeable about these differences, as well as federal case law, CIS precedents, degree program admissions requirements, and international trade agreements to write an accurate evaluation of your degree, or your employee or client’s degree. Translation agencies simply do not have this expertise and instead turn to conservative equivalency databases like EDGE, which is not actually a standardized equivalency database as no such database actually exists.If you or your employee or client received an RFE as the result of a bad translation, talk to a credential evaluation agency that works regularly with H1B RFE cases. A skilled evaluator can spot a bad translation and evaluate accordingly.The degree is not from a government-accredited institution.The fact is, there are plenty of institutions around the world that offer rigorous education programs that fully prepare workers for highly specialized occupations that are not actually government accredited. That means that even though you or your employee or client may have a legitimate education from an institution held in high regard by your industry, or your employee or client’s industry, the institution itself may not be government accredited and CIS will not approve the visa.This is an RFE trap that you may or may not be able to wriggle free of. If you have, or if your employee or client has years of progressive work experience in the field of their specialty occupation, a credential evaluator with the authority to convert years of work experience into college credit to write a US bachelor’s degree equivalency CIS will accept. It’s always best to find whether or not this will work BEFORE you file the petition, but even if you fell into this H1B trap for FY2017 you may still be able to answer the RFE and get the visa approved.The Bachelor’s Degree is ACTUALLY just a high school diploma.This happens more often than you may think. Mistaking a high school diploma for a Bachelor’s degree can happen as the result of cross-cultural misunderstandings, bad translations, and acting upon false information. H1B educational criteria require candidates to hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher, or its equivalent. A high school diploma – or the foreign equivalent of a US high school diploma – will not cut it.If you or your employee or client fell into this H1B education trap, talk to a credential evaluator with experience working with H1B RFEs. If you have, or if your employee or client has any post-secondary education from an accredited institution, this can be counted towards a bachelor’s degree equivalency, along with any years of progressive work experience you have, or your employee or client has in the field of employ. This is a tough mistake to recover from, and you may even find out that you or your employee or client has been pursuing the wrong visa all along. However, there is still a chance that you can claw your way out of this H1B education trap.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila 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. ]]>

The Answer to Your EB2 RFE is NOT in the RFE!

Do you, or does your employee or client meet the educational criteria of the visa?First and foremost, make sure that the beneficiary’s education meets the educational criteria for the particular visa preference classification. For example, and EB2 visa requires beneficiaries to hold a US Master’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent, or a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent FOLLOWED BY five years of progressive work experience in the field. If you or your employee or client does not meet these requirements, or cannot meet them with a detailed credential evaluation, you are petitioning for the wrong visa. However, many candidates who do not immediately meet these criteria actually do with the proper credential evaluation. This brings us to the second educational requirement for I-140 visas:The Bachelor’s Degree must be a single source.This means, unlike other visas such as the H1B, your client cannot combine work experience with years of college credit to write a bachelor’s degree equivalency. It must be a single source. This can become troublesome if you or your employee or client holds a three-year bachelor’s degree from a country outside of the United States because that missing fourth year is going to be a problem. However, years of progressive work experience in the field can in many cases be evaluated to be the equivalency of a US Master’s degree in the field, accompanied by the proper evidentiary support, documentations, and citations.The Education and Job Must Meet Visa CriteriaIt is tempting for candidates with EB3 qualified education to try for EB2 preference. This is because the wait time for visas being processed is years shorter for EB2 candidates than for those of EB3 education. Do NOT be tempted into petitioning for a visa that is not right for your client. EB2 candidates must hold a US Master’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent, OR a US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent FOLLOWED BY five years of progressive work experience in the field. These requirements are extremely specific, but also very clearly spelled out. If you are unsure about your client’s education, talk to a credential evaluator who often works with I-140 cases and their RFEs. In the same way, some jobs simply don’t meet the specialization requirements of EB2 or EB1. These visas require highly specialized jobs with advanced degrees and work experience necessary to perform. If you or your client or employee does not hold a job that fits these requirements, you may be chasing the wrong visa.USCIS defines progressive work experience in the field as “demonstrated by advancing levels of responsibility and knowledge in the specialty.” This means that the candidate must have clearly learned skills and knowledge essential to the industry through this work experience, and instead of passing a test or getting a grade, this progress is evidenced through promotions and increased responsibility. Progressive work experience comes in handy candidates don’t have the number of years necessary in their foreign bachelor’s degree to make a single source US equivalence, and also when they run into the next RFE-triggering problem.The Degree MUST Match the Job OfferIf your education, or your employee or client’s education doesn’t match the job offer on the PERM, you will receive an RFE. This is because candidates need to have the specialized skills and knowledge necessary to perform their job, and a degree in a different field does not assure CIS that they meet minimum requirements to perform their job. Employers will often hire employees with degrees in related fields that are not an exact match because they know there is enough information overlap, but CIS will question their qualifications with an RFE. If your degree, or your employee or client’s degree does not match the job offer, progressive work experience in the field can be converted into the necessary degree specialization. For example, say you or your employee or client has a job in computer sciences but a Master’s degree in engineering. The beneficiary also has five years of progressive work experience in the field of computer sciences. A credential evaluator with the authority to make this conversion can write the equivalent of five years of POST-BACHELOR’S DEGREE work experience in the field of computer sciences to a US Master’s degree in computer sciences.If you or your employee or client received an RFE, read it over carefully, but don’t get lost in it. Instead, sit down with your team and understand which of the ORIGINAL VISA CRITERIA are in question. Find out what evidence you need to provide to meet the ORIGINAL VISA CRITERIA that are in question and submit that documentation in your answer. The roadmap to answering the RFE is NOT in the RFE, so look to the original visa criteria and make sure that you’re not leaving any open gaps or failing to meet any requirements.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila 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.  ]]>

RFE? Surprise! The answer is not in the RFE

1) The job must be a specialty occupation.USCIS defines specialty occupation as a job so complex as to require a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent to perform. This is because specialized skills and knowledge are necessary to perform the duties of the job correctly. To show that your job, or your employee or client’s job is a specialty occupation, you can provide the advertisement for the job that includes minimum qualifications for the job. You should also provide ads for similar jobs in the same industry for companies of a similar size and scope. If your job, or your employee or client’s job holds higher requirements than similar jobs because this particular situation requires specialized knowledge, include an expert opinion letter clearly explaining why this is the case.2) You, or your employee or client must have a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalency.The H1B visa is for highly skilled workers to live in the United States and work jobs that require specialized skills and knowledge. CIS requires beneficiaries of the H1B visa to hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. That means if you have, or your employee or client has a degree from outside of the United States – PARTICULARLY if it is a three-year bachelor’s degree or a degree that doesn’t call itself a degree like the Indian Chartered Accountancy certification – you need to submit a credential evaluation alongside the transcripts that clearly show its US academic value. This can be difficult because educational systems vary from country to country. The number of years it takes to complete secondary and post-secondary education are different, and the academic content is different. A credential evaluator with specialized understanding of international education as well as visa education requirements and CIS trends is needed to write the evaluation you need, or your employee or client needs to answer the RFE. CIS allows beneficiaries to combine years of progressive work experience in their field of employ – meaning the work experience required them to take on more responsibility as time went on – to fill in missing years in a degree. Three years of progressive work experience in the field can be converted into the equivalent of one year of college credit in your client’s specialization. This conversion requires a credential evaluator with the authority to convert work experience into college credit, and back it up with the necessary evidence and analysis.3) The degree must match the field of employ.Since your job, or your employee or client’s job is a specialty occupation, the education must be specialized to his or her field of employ. In recent years, CIS has required the degree specialization to be an EXACT match – whereas in the past they accepted education in a related field and employers regularly hire candidates with related degrees and direct work experience in the field. Of course, you need to answer the RFE with regards to CURRENT CIS approval trends, and that means your degree, or your employee or client’s degree specialization must match the job offer. If you or your employee or client has a generalized degree or a degree with a major that is not an exact match for the job, a credential evaluation that converts years of work experience in the field into college credit counting towards that specialization is in order. Additionally, a credential evaluator can take a close look at the course content of your degree, or your employee or client’s degree and count courses completed in the field of employ towards a degree with a major in that field. Talk to a credential evaluator with experience working with education RFEs and decide the best course of action to meet this requirement.4) The beneficiary and employer must have an employer-employee relationship.Employer-employee relationships means that the employer has the ability to hire, fire, promote, pay, supervise, and otherwise control the work the beneficiary does as an employee. If these terms are not clearly met, CIS will issue an RFE. To show you or your employee or client meet this requirement, you can submit the employee manual or contract agreement to show CIS the nature of this relationship.5) The employer must pay the beneficiary the prevailing wages and benefits for the job.The employer must pay the beneficiary the prevailing wages and benefits for the job, for companies of that size in that industry, and in that specific geographical location. To prove this, you need to provide evidence of what those prevailing wages and benefits are, as well as evidence that the employer will be meeting those standards. In addition, you must be able to show that the employer has the economic viability to do so without cutting resources from other employees or the company or organization itself. The economic viability of the beneficiary’s employer is key. To prove this, submit copies of the W-2 form, or pay stubs if the beneficiary is already employed in this position under a different visa status. You may also have to provide quarterly reports for the employer, tax information, or other evidence that shows that the beneficiary’s employer is able to provide prevailing wages and benefits.Many RFEs have difficult wording and make virtually impossible evidence requests – most notably the Nightmare RFE. An RFE does not have the roadmap to successfully answer it contained within it. Read over the RFE, then return to the basics of what requirements need to be met for the H1B visa.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila 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.]]>

5 Common H-1B RFEs and Their Solutions

  • The Job is not Clearly a Specialty Occupation
  • While this RFE is primarily related to the nature of the job, it is also an EDUCATION related RFE. The question is about what level of education is needed to meet the MINIMUM qualifications to perform this job. To prove that your job, or your employee or client’s job meets CIS requirements for being a “specialty occupation,” provide the ad for the job that states it minimum requirements. You should also provide ads for similar jobs in the same industry to show that it is a general requirement for employees holding this position to have a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. If your job, or your employee or client’s job has specialized requirements unique to the company or organization, provide an expert opinion letter stating why specialized knowledge and skills are needed for your particular job, or your employee or client’s particular job but not in similar jobs in the same industry. Remember, when in doubt, go back to the original H-1B requirements and work from there.
    1. Right Degree, Wrong Specialization or No Specialization
    Do your or does your employee or client have a US bachelor’s degree? This might not be enough. CIS requires H-1B visa holders to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in the major that exactly matches their field of employment. In the not-too-distant past, CIS would approve visas of candidates with degrees in related fields, but now these same petitions are met with RFEs at best. Since specialty occupations require specialized knowledge unique to the field, candidates with related majors or generalized degrees are not making the CIS educational cut. However, employers don’t just take on new hires without the knowledge and skills necessary to do the job. If you or your employee or client has the right skills and knowledge through classes outside of their major, as well as direct work experience in the field, you need to find a credential evaluator with the authority to convert years of work experience in the field into college credit that count towards the correct major specialization.
    1. Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree
    An unfortunately common RFE arrives when a candidate has a three-year bachelor’s degree, particularly one from India. While the Indian three-year bachelor’s degree tends to have at least the same number of classroom contact hours as the four-year US bachelor’s degree, CIS still requires candidates to account for that missing fourth year. Simply submitting a three-year transcript without an evaluation or attempting to rely on the academic content vs. academic duration requirement will almost certainly trigger an RFE. Instead, talk with a credential evaluator with the authority to convert years of work experience into college credit to account for the missing fourth year.
    1. Degree has an Unclear US Equivalency
    Some advanced degrees do not have a clear US equivalency. For example, the job that gets the most RFE’s is Computer Systems Analysis. This is because this degree is EXTREMELY rare, and with current educational trends candidates must hold a degree in that very rare specialization to meet CIS trends. Another example of this is the Indian Chartered Accountancy certification. With the Canadian Chartered Accountancy certification and the US CPA are not bachelor’s degree equivalencies, the Indian Chartered Accountancy certification requires the same steps as a bachelor’s degree in accounting to qualify to take the test to become certified. This makes the Indian Chartered Accountancy the functional equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree in accounting. When it comes to rare degrees or degrees without an intuitive equivalency, holding CIS’s hand and walking them through the steps of education to determine its functional equivalency is required to avoid an RFE in the first place or to answer the one that has arrived. This requires a detailed credential evaluation from a credential evaluation agency with specialized understanding of foreign and international education, as well as knowledge of where one can earn rare degree specializations in the United States.
    1. The Right Evaluation for the Wrong Visa
    Regulations surrounding educational equivalencies vary greatly from visa to visa. Some credential evaluation agencies offer cookie-cutter evaluations based on large databases without looking at each situation on a case-by-case basis. Everyone’s path through education is unique – from course content to work experience – AND every visa has different equivalency frameworks. For example, for the H-1B visa, CIS permits candidates to combine education from multiple sources, as well as years of progressive work experience to reach a US bachelor’s degree equivalency. This is not the case for the EB2 visa where the bachelor’s degree must be a single source. Therefore, it is common for candidates to end up with the right equivalency for the wrong visa. Before you hire a credential evaluator, make sure they specifically ask about your visa or your employee or client’s visa. Many credible evaluation agencies will write an accurate evaluation that does not meet CIS requirements for your visa or your employee or client’s visa. This does NOT mean your or your employee or client’s education and work experience cannot meet H-1B requirements. The evaluation must lend itself to the visa requirements, and client’s job offer. It must take into account the field of employ, the degree and specialization required, and the steps CIS allows for you, or your employee or client to get there.When you receive an RFE, sit down with your team, read it over, and understand exactly what it is asking of you. The roadmap to your success, however, is NOT necessarily in the wording of the RFE. Your success lies within knowing CIS educational requirements for the visa, and in understanding CIS approval trends. The right credential evaluation for the right visa is your key to answering an education RFE.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila 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.   ]]>

    How to Find the Right Credential Evaluator for an H-1B RFE

  • Do they offer a free review of the case?
  • An evaluator cannot know what services must be provided – or whether or not your education, or your employee or client’s education and work experience will even work for the H-1B visa at all – without reviewing your employment history, or your employee or client’s employment history and educational documents. You received an education RFE. Before you answer it, make sure you CAN answer it successfully with what you, or your employee or client has to work with, and what needs to be done to write the equivalency that will accurately meet H-1B education standards. If an agency or evaluator asks for payment before looking into what needs to be done, look elsewhere.
    1. Are they easy to work with?
    The evaluator who you want to work with is one who wants to work with you. Answering an RFE means you have to collect a lot of documentation – some not so easy to secure – in a short amount of time. Don’t waste your time working with an evaluator who doesn’t answer your calls, your text, your emails, or your questions to your satisfaction. Being easy to work with also means they are affordable and offer rush delivery options. When it comes to credential evaluation agencies, you don’t “get what you pay for.” The best ones tend to be inexpensive.
    1. Did they ask about the visa?
    A common cause of an education RFE is that the evaluator wrote the right evaluation for the wrong visa. Many evaluation agencies will write a standard evaluation of your credentials, or your employee or client’s credentials without regard for the particular, unique educational requirements for the H-1B visa. Educational requirements, as well as approval trends and standards surrounding what education and work experience can be combined to write an equivalency vary from visa to visa. For example, an H-1B beneficiary may combine work experience and college credit to write an acceptable equivalency to a US bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, an EB2 beneficiary who tries to do the same thing will fail because for that particular visa the bachelor’s degree must be a single source. The evaluation must lend itself to the visa in question to be successful.
    1. Did they ask about the job offer?
    Just like the particular visa requirements, the evaluation must also lend itself to the client’s job offer. In the past, CIS has accepted petitions in which the beneficiary holds a degree in a field related to the job offer. This is not the case anymore. Now CIS requires beneficiaries to have a degree in their exact field of employ. This is because H-1B visas are for beneficiaries working specialized occupations, with knowledge and skills specialized to their field. While an employer will look at a candidate’s education and work experience and see that they have the skills and knowledge necessary to work their job, if the degree is not in the field, CIS will require more evidence. If your credential evaluator doesn’t ask about your job, or your employee or client’s job, he or she does not understand this and you need to look elsewhere. If your degree, or your employee or client’s degree is in a mismatched field, a credential evaluator with the authority to convert progressive work experience in the field into college credit in that specialization is exactly who you need to be working with.
    1. Do the often work with RFEs, Denials, and NOIDs?
    The credential evaluator you want is one who does not shy away from difficult cases. You, or your employee or client received an RFE, so you want to work with an evaluation agency with extensive experience answering them. It’s important to keep in mind that the roadmap to answering the RFE is NOT IN THE RFE ITSELF. Especially with RFEs like the Nightmare – which is virtually impossible to answer if you follow its instructions – guidance from those who know the terrain and can navigate it successfully is essential to success. Evaluators that work with these kinds of cases know what CIS is looking for in the documentation they request, know what triggers and RFE, and what works and what does not in answering it. These evaluators follow CIS approval trends, which change from year to year.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.  ]]>

    Four Tips to Successfully Answering an H-1B RFE

    an RFE is not a roadmap for success. USCIS is NOT trying to help you. Instead of looking at your RFE for answers, focus on H-1B requirements for guidance.If you, or your employee or client has received an RFE, here are four tips to successfully respond:

    1. Read the RFE thoroughly to understand what is being asked of you.
    Sit down with your team, including an evaluator with experience working with RFEs for your client’s visa, read over the RFE word for word, and gain a detailed understanding of what is being asked of you, and WHY CIS is asking for the evidence requested. You only have one shot at responding to this, so you want to make sure you provide everything CIS is asking for at once, alongside a clear explanation of what it is and what is proves.
    1. Understand that sometimes the RFE materials requested cannot be provided.
    Sometimes CIS requests evidence that cannot be provided in the time allotted to respond, or within the constraints of the budget, or sometimes even not at all. RFEs like the Nightmare RFE are virtually impossible to answer based on what is asked. With this in mind, it’s important to go back to the H-1B requirements and use these guidelines as the framework for your response. Work with a credential evaluation agency with experience responding to these kinds of RFEs because they understand the underlying questions CIS is seeking to answer in the evidence they are asking you or your employee client to provide. Sometimes you can’t meet the demands of the RFE. Even if providing the requested evidence is virtually impossible, answering the underlying questions is very much possible. In this case, all you have to do to respond successfully is to meet H-1B regulations, if handled properly.
    1. Understand H-1B education requirements.
    Every work visa has different educational requirements, and different rules surrounding what education can be combined for US equivalency. For example, an H-1B visa requires beneficiaries to hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent in the exact specialization of the beneficiary’s job position. If you or your employee or client has a foreign degree, or a degree in a mismatched specialization, you need a credential evaluation that clearly shows the value of your education and work experience, or your employee or client’s education and work experience in terms of US academic value. On top of that, you need to do this according to CIS approval trends for this particular visa. For example, a three-year bachelor’s degree from India needs a credential evaluation that converts years of work experience into college credit to account for the missing fourth year even if your degree, or your employee or client’s degree had the same or greater amount of classroom contact hours as a US four-year bachelor’s degree. Talk to a credential evaluation agency that works with professors with the authority to make the work experience to college credit conversion. Make sure the evaluator you work with has experience working with H-1B visa beneficiaries, RFEs, and difficult cases.
    1. MEET THE DEADLINE!
    Make sure the RFE is answered by the deadline. Extensions are highly unlikely and filing after the deadline will likely result in the case being rejected.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila 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.  ]]>

    Fall into an H-1B Education Trap? Fix that RFE!

    The degree came from a college or university that is not government accredited.Many institutions that provide a rigorous, quality education that fully prepare you or your employee or client for the specialty occupation he or she has been hired for are not actually government accredited. Two common examples of this situation are NIIT and Aptech. CIS will not approve unaccredited education.The “college” degree is actually a high school diploma.Yes, this happens. Attorneys: don’t listen to your clients when they insist that their high school diploma is a college degree. This tends to be an honest mistake that gets taken too far. Mistranslations, misunderstandings, and different educational systems from one country to the next cause a lot of confusion in this area. Different degrees are often called by the same name, which becomes a problem when transcripts and credentials are translated but not evaluated for academic equivalence. The H-1B visa requires a US bachelor’s degree or higher. A high school diploma does NOT meet these requirements.If your degree, or your employee or client has a degree from an unaccredited college or university, or no bachelor’s degree equivalence at all, talk to a credential evaluator with the authority to convert years of work experience into college credit. You may be able to salvage your case.The degree was not evaluated correctly.If your degree, or your employee or client’s degree is from a different country with a different language, the transcripts must be translated into English and evaluated for US academic equivalence. Sometimes, documents do not get translated correctly, or they are only translated but never evaluated. Sometimes, they are evaluated, but incorrectly. Sometimes they are evaluated correctly, but not for the H-1B visa. This H-1B trap is becoming increasingly common because some translation agencies now offer a sort of one-stop-shop for translation and evaluation. Just like document translation, evaluation is a highly specialized field that requires extensive knowledge of international education, international trade agreements, CIS precedent decisions, federal case law, and various visa requirements. This is because some visas allow education and experience from different sources to be combined to show equivalence while others do not accept that combination but require others. This is also because some degrees exist in one country but not in another, and others don’t have a direct English translation. Some degrees don’t call themselves degrees but are actually the equivalent of post-secondary education. Simply translating documents from one language to another means understanding of the academic content is lost. A credential evaluator can identify where this occurs and fix it. Each evaluation must be conducted on a case-by-case basis.Before you file your case, or your employee or client’s case, be aware that it may not be as straightforward as you think. Educational systems vary from country to country, and your degree or your employee or client’s degree may not be what you think it is in terms of US academic value.   At the same time, the right degree may be in the wrong field, or difficult to find a US equivalent degree for. Talk to a credential evaluator with experience working with H-1B visas and their RFEs. The evaluator you want understands the specific requirements of H-1B visas as well as CIS trends regarding these much sought-after visas.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    Does the Beneficiary Meet H-1B Education Requirements?

  • The beneficiary has been hired for a specialty occupation.
  • The beneficiary holds a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent.
  • That degree is in the field of the specialty occupation.
  • To show that you, or your employee or client has secured a position in a specialty occupation, you must provide documentation that this job – as well as similar jobs for similar companies in the industry – requires an advanced degree to perform. You can do this by submitting a copy of the ad for the job that spells out its minimum requirements, as well as ads for similar job as discussed earlier. If this particular job requires a more specialized skill set than is typical for this position, include an expert opinion letter stating why this is so.Once you have established that your job, or your employee or client’s job is a specialty occupation, you need to find out whether they have the correct degree. If your job, or your employee or client’s job requires a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree, you, or your employee or client must hold a US bachelor’s degree. Since many H-1B beneficiaries earned their degrees outside of the United States, you will need to submit a credential evaluation along with the transcripts. Some countries have three-year bachelor’s degree structures where academic content is condensed. Some countries have degrees that do not call themselves degrees but are evaluated to be the equivalent of post-secondary education in the United States. One such example is the Indian Chartered Accountancy certificate, which is the functional equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree in accounting. Some beneficiaries who went to school in the United States never completed a degree but have the skills and knowledge necessary to perform specialized job duties. All of these situations require a careful evaluation that takes detailed account of your coursework, or your employee or client’s coursework, as well as work experience in the field. Missing years – whether they be from incomplete education or condensed education from abroad – can be accounted for by converting years of progressive work experience into years of college credit using a three years of work to one year of college credit ratio.Second, your degree, or your employee or client’s degree must be a match for the field of employ. While employers will hire candidates who hold degrees in related fields because there is enough skill and knowledge overlap, particularly if they have worked in the exact field they have been hired to, CIS will not approve their visas. This is a recent CIS trend, one that does not look like it will go away any time soon. If you, or your employee or client has the right degree in the wrong field – or in a generalized field – talk to a credential evaluator. An evaluation that takes a close look at the course content of your, your employee or your client’s education and their work experience is needed to write the equivalencies that convert years of work experience in the field into college credit in that specialization, and also count course credits earned in that field towards that specialization as well.Sometimes, your education, or your employee or client’s education will not meet the requirements of an H-1B visa. This is best to find out BEFORE you file. While the H-1B visa has very strong benefits, if it is the wrong visa it is not worth taking the time and money to petition for it. There may be another work visa that better suits the particular job and education.However, if you or your employee or client received an RFE regarding the job or education, sit down with a credential evaluator and go over your, or your employee or client’s education and work history. Find out if the gaps in your degree or your employee or client’s degree can be filled in with course content and work experience.About the Author  Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.    ]]>

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