Credential Evaluation

What USCIS Needs to Know about Your Client’s Indian Three-Year Degree

  • Candidates do not possess the core knowledge that comes from a US four-year degree.
  • The Indian three-year bachelor’s degree tends to have a more specialized curriculum while US four-year bachelor’s degree programs require general credits and classes from outside of a student’s major. However, this is changing in universities across India. Many institutions have changed to a choice-based credit system, which allows flexibility for students to take classes outside of their major. At the same time, the core education curriculum required for Indian students to earn a High School Diploma before they even enter college is extensive, rigorous, and well rounded. In most cases, Indian students are coming into college with the core knowledge US bachelor’s degree students must learn in college.
    1. The missing fourth year means a missing year of academic content.
    Debunking this myth is a matter of math. The US four-year bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours to graduate. One college credit hour is comprised of fifteen classroom contact hours, meaning fifteen hours spent directly in the classroom. This is 1800 classroom contact hours for a US four-year bachelor’s degree. According to Dr. R. Venkatachalam, former psychology professor at Bharathiar University in India (http://www.emailwire.com/doc/three-year-indian-degree.pdf), a typical Indian three-year degree program has roughly 3,240 classroom contact hours.Now that you understand the value of your client’s three-year Indian bachelor’s degree, how can you express this to USCIS in a way that they will understand? Regardless of how many classroom contact hours your client’s degree consists of, CIS still requires a progressive work experience evaluation to account for the missing fourth year. This means your client must have three years of work experience in their field of employ that can be converted into one year of college credit in that field. Progressive work experience means your client took on more work and responsibility in this experience, indicating that specialized skills and knowledge were learned and mastered. A credential evaluation agency with the authority to convert progressive work experience into college credit can write the detailed credential evaluation your and your client need to meet H1-b visa requirements in accordance with CIS educational trends. Do not file your client’s H1-b petition without one such credential evaluation or the missing fourth year will come back to haunt you in the form of an RFE or Denial.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.]]>

    Computer Systems Analyst: The H1b Job that gets the Most RFEs

    learned through this work experience and put these new specialized skills and knowledge to practical use in the workplace. An evaluator can convert three years of progressive work experience into one year of college credit in the field of Computer Systems Analysis to account for the missing fourth year.While an RFE is not the end of the world, it is a big red flag that triggers a close scrutiny of your client’s petition and increases chances of rejection. An evaluator who specializes in RFEs and difficult cases understands CIS trends and knows common triggers for RFEs, as well as how to address these triggers when they arise and how to avoid them in the first place. Before you file your client’s H1b petition, get in touch with a credential evaluation agency that specializes in RFEs and difficult cases. Have them review your client’s case.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. ]]>

    How Functional Equivalency can Get Your Client’s Visa Approved

    functional equivalency.An equivalency means that the candidate has the educational experience that has resulted in the same knowledge base and skill set required to work their specialty occupation that a US degree would result in. Equivalency is not always interpreted in a literal sense. Looking up correspondence between degree majors and titles only goes so far when your client has a degree or major that exists in their home country, but not in the United States.It is possible to device an equivalency based on an understanding of the role of the credential concerned as it functions within its native system, independently of what the major, degree, or title is called. This is particularly true when considering credentials that have a professional or vocational orientation.To see how this works, let’s take a look at how the US Bachelor’s of Science degree functions in terms of admission to a US Master’s of Business Administration program. By looking at this functional relationship, we can see that the US Bachelor’s of Science equips candidates with the required knowledge base and skill set US MBA programs require students to have to be successful in MBA programs.Take a US Bachelor of Science with a major in Physics and a US Master of Business Administration. While at first glance, these degrees and majors are unrelated, when considered from the perspective of MBA admissions, a relationship CAN be established because the MBA has a long history of admitting students with Bachelor’s of Science degrees in Physics. They are functionally related in this way. This illustrates that a Bachelor’s of Science in Physics is a functional step – a prerequisite – to an MBA credential. This has particular relevance where USCIS requires that two credentials are related in order to meet a given PERM requirement. Examining admissions practices in Master’s programs in the United States reveals other useful functional relationships not only in the business world, but also in areas such as computer sciences and information management.If your client has a foreign degree without a clear US equivalency, or a vocational or professional credential, they need to have their education reviewed by an evaluator who possesses a deep understanding of the stages of education in systems around the world. The evaluator you are looking for understands how these systems function so they can discern and clearly explain the functional equivalency of your client’s education.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.  ]]>

    How to Avoid that H1B RFE

  • Make sure the information is consistent across all of the documents and forms.
  • Don’t ever submit an H1B petition without double-checking every form and document for consistency and accuracy. This means spelling of names, dates of jobs and education, names of employers and schools, and locations of these jobs and schools. Everything must be consistent. CIS is on the lookout for visa fraud. Inaccurate or inconsistent answers are big red flags that can arouse suspicion even though your client and his or her employer is legitimate.
    1. Your client’s job must be a specialty occupation.
    This means your client’s job must require a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. To show this, you need to prove that not only does your client’s particular job require a degree to perform, but that similar jobs in similar companies in the same industry also require an advanced degree. This shows that the skills and knowledge needed to successfully carry out the duties of your client’s job requires an advanced degree.
    1. Your client must possess a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent.
    Unless your client has a very straightforward bachelor’s degree or higher from a US college or university, you will need to get your client’s credentials evaluated by an authorized foreign credentials evaluator. Some degrees are more complex than others because many countries have certifications and licenses that are actually degrees, even though the word degree is not in the title. Professional licenses like the Indian Chartered Accountancy license require the equivalence of the same post-secondary education required for a bachelor’s degree. However, Canadian Chartered Accountancy does not require education that equates to post-secondary education. Another example of a difficult education situation is the Indian three-year bachelor’s degree. While it has the same – if not greater – amount of classroom contact hours as the US four-year bachelor’s degree, you need to account for the extra year of education for CIS to consider the Indian three-year bachelor’s degree as equivalent to the US four-year degree. To do this, a credential evaluator with the authority to convert years of progressive work experience in your client’s field of employ into years of college credit must write an evaluation with the equivalency of three years of work experience to one year of college credit documented and accounted for to account for the missing fourth year.
    1. Your client’s degree must be an exact match for the job offer.
    Until less than a decade ago, an H1B candidate with a degree in a field related to their job title would get their visa approved without an RFE. Now we are seeing RFE’s for degrees that are not an exact match for the job offer. While employers will hire employees with degrees in related fields, CIS will not approve their visas. CIS requires your candidate have the specialized skills and knowledge required for their H1B job. While candidates with related degrees may possess these skills – particularly if they are hired for the job – your client needs to prove this to CIS with a degree match. If your client’s degree is not an exact match for his or her job offer, have a credential evaluator review your client’s education and employment history. An evaluation can be written converting years of progressive work experience into college credit in the major that matches your client’s job. Classroom contact hours in coursework in the matching field can also be evaluated and counted towards a major in that field.
    1. Your client’s degree must be specialized.
    Since the H1B visa is for specialized occupations, your candidate must have a degree that reflects having learned and mastered specialized skills and knowledge. A generalized degree – such as a liberal arts degree with no specific field of specialization – is not adequate to show a candidate possesses such knowledge. If your client has a generalized degree but was still hired for an H1B occupation, clearly his or her employer can see that your client has the specialized skills and knowledge necessary to excel at the job. Now you have to provide CIS with evidence that this is the case. Have a credential evaluator review your client’s transcripts and resume to see what conversions can be made to write an equivalency to a specialized degree that matches the H1B job offer.The H1B visa requirements are very detailed and specific, especially when it comes to your client’s education. H1B trends change as this visa becomes more and more sought after with higher demand for highly skilled workers in STEM industries that the US workforce can supply.   Before you submit, have a credential evaluator look over your client’s transcripts, educational documents, and work experience to see if an evaluation is needed, and if so, what must be done.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.]]>

    FY2017 H-1B Predictions and Requirements

  • Your client’s job must be a specialty occupation. This means that to perform the duties of the job, your client must hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent in a related field. In recent years however, CIS has issued RFE’s for degrees that do not exactly match candidates’ job titles. If your client’s major is not an exact match for his or her job title, you need to find a credential evaluation agency that can take a close look at your client’s education to count classroom contact hours in classes matching your client’s job towards a degree equivalency. The evaluator can also convert years of progressive work experience in the field to years of college credit in the major of your client’s job offer. To show that your client’s job is a specialty occupation, you need to provide evidence that your client’s employer requires this degree for this job, and that similar positions in similar companies also require an advanced degree. If this is not the case, you need to provide evidence as to why your client’s particular job is so specifically complex as to require an advanced degree to carry out its duties.
    1. Your client must hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. H-1b visas are for specialty occupations that require a bachelor’s degree or higher to perform. If your client has a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent, and the degree matches the job, all you have to do is submit the educational documents with the petition. However, if your client’s degree is from a different country – particularly a country with a three-year bachelor’s degree – you need to have your client’s education evaluated for US equivalence. This is because educational systems vary from country to country, and CIS must clearly see the value of your client’s education in terms of US educational value. Some post-secondary degrees from other countries are the equivalent of US bachelor’s degrees even though the word “degree” is not in the title. Others are not. A detailed evaluation from a credential evaluator with expert understanding of international education is needed to meet this requirement. For three-year degrees, a progressive work experience conversion is needed to fill in the missing fourth year. Although three-year degrees, like the Indian three-year degree, have the same if not more number of classroom contact hours as a US four-year degree, CIS does not accept this equivalency on face without a detailed credential evaluation.
    1. There must be an employer-employee relationship. This means that your client’s employer can hire, fire, promote, pay, and otherwise control the work your client does. You can show this by submitting a copy of the employee contract or providing other documentation regarding your client’s job.
    1. Your client must be paid the prevailing wage for his or her job. Prevailing wage is determined based on the job, the company, the geographic location, and other factors. To prove that your client will be paid the prevailing wage for his or her job, you need to provide evidence that states common salaries for your client’s occupation in similar companies in similar locations, as well as proof that your client’s employer will be paying that wage. At the same time, you also have to show that your client’s employer is economically viable to pay your client the prevailing wage without affecting the salaries of other employees, operating costs, or other aspects of the business.
    Before you file your client’s H-1b petition, have a credential evaluator review his or her education to make sure all your ducks are in a row. If you submit a petition without an evaluation where one is needed, you can expect an RFE. While an RFE is not the end of the world, it is a big red flag on your client’s petition, and will trigger CIS to comb over the petition and find misplaced details that would otherwise have gone by unnoticed. CIS has a big job to do when it comes to cap-subject H-1b visa selection. Make their job easier by making sure your client’s visa is easy to approve, not by giving them a big red flag to look at.Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    What’s in an H1-B Credential Evaluation and Why Does it Matter?

  • Institutions of education and attendance dates. An evaluation will indicate which schools and colleges your client attended and for how long, including the profile and accreditations of the schools your client attended. This means elementary school, high school, and post-secondary institutions. The reason for this is because the number of years of education varies from country to country from the time your client entered school as a child. These are all factors in equivalency recommendations.
    1. Diploma, certificate, degree, and transcript equivalents. All of these documents will be included in the evaluation along with their equivalents indicated and explained. The steps of education is important in the evaluation process because many degrees in countries outside of the US are post-secondary degrees BUT the word degree is not in the title. To evaluate these difficult degrees, the stages of education necessary to attain these certifications must be evaluated for post-secondary equivalence.
    1. Recommended US equivalent of your client’s degree. Each credential evaluation will make an equivalence recommendation based on evidence, analysis, expert opinions, CIS precedents, international trade agreements, and even federal case law. Since there are no set standards for foreign degree equivalence evaluation, an evaluator must make a case for their recommendation.
    For the H1-B visa, you want an evaluator who can write an accurate recommendation founded in evidence, precedents, expert opinions, and documentation for your client’s degree to be the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree or higher in the field that matches your client’s job title. Not all evaluation agencies will write the detailed evaluation it takes to truly explain and assess the value of your client’s foreign degree. Many evaluation agencies simply pull conservative equivalencies from standardized equivalency databases. However, there are NO set foreign equivalency standards and every candidate’s education is different.When you hire a credential evaluator for your client’s H1-B evaluation, make sure he or she is well-versed in the specific educational requirements of the H1-B visa. This means when you call, you will be asked about your client’s specific visa, and your clients specific job. Both of these variables factor heavily into the evaluation the right evaluator will write for your client’s education.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, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

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