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H-1B Adjudication Season: What to Expect, How to Prepare

With H-1B filing season over and the lottery completed on April 11th, 2019, it is now time to wait – and to prepare.

USCIS notifies those who have been selected in the H-1B lottery first, and premium processing cases are expected to be alerted that they were selected by the first week of June, with rejection receipts expected to finally arrive at the end of July.  While beneficiaries cannot contact USCIS directly about their petitions, lawyers and employers can.  Another way to tell if your petition, or if your employee or client’s petition was accepted in the lottery is to check the bank account from which the processing fee check was written to see if it was deposited.  If it was deposited, the petition was accepted.  Again, you may not be able to tell for some months now.

This is not the time to wait.  This is the time to formulate a plan to answer any RFEs or Denial that you or your employee or client may receive.  We anticipate this year to follow the same trends as last year with high RFE and Denial rates, especially effecting Indian beneficiaries, computer programmers, and workers making level one wages. 

According to the National Foundation for American Policy, in the first quarter of 2017 the RFE rate for H-1B petitions was 17.3%.  By the fourth quarter, the rate had jumped to 68.9%.  Looking at last year, the first quarter of 2018 saw a 19.8% rate of rejection for H-1B petitions.  That number climbed to 22.4% by the fourth quarter.

If you or your employee or client is selected in the H-1B lottery, there is a very high chance they will receive and RFE or Denial.  This year, in a USCIS memorandum, adjudicators have been given the authority and encouragement to deny visa petitions outright without first requesting evidence.  We do not know how this will play out in reality, but while a Denial is harder to overturn than an RFE, it is NOT the end of the road.  H-1B RFEs and Denials are successfully answered every year.  It is much easier to do when you plan ahead.

The key is to identify where in your client’s case USCIS is likely to find red flags based on H-1B eligibility requirements and USCIS approval trends.  Petitions from Indian beneficiaries – especially those with three-year Indian bachelor’s degrees – tend to attract RFEs.  Computer programmers, especially those making level one wages tend to attract RFEs.  Candidates with incomplete college, a generalized degree, or a degree specialization that does not match the field of the H-1B job tend to attract RFEs.  These are just a few examples.

At TheDegreePeople.com we work with difficult RFEs every year and we get them overturned with the right credential evaluations and expert opinion letters.  We advise beneficiaries and their teams on what evidence, forms, and documentation they need to proceed, and we come up with creative solutions to virtually impossible RFEs to get them overturned.  For a free review of your case visit HERE.  We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.

Ready Plan B Before H-1B RFE Season Begins

On April 11th, USCIS completed the H-1B lottery.  This year, 201,011 H-1B cap subject petitions were filed from April 1st to April 5th.  That’s about 11,000 more petitions than last season. 

This year, H-1B candidates with advanced degrees of a US Master’s degree or higher had a 16% greater chance of being selected for the lottery because of the advanced degree reversal.  In previous years, the 20,000 advanced degree visas were selected before the general lottery, and the remaining petitions were thrown in with the general lottery.  This year, the general lottery is selected first which includes candidates with advanced degrees.  Those with advanced degrees who were not selected in the general lottery were then pooled into the advanced degree lottery.  If you or your employee or client holds an advanced degree or its equivalency, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss to increase their chance of lottery selection.

Beneficiaries are estimated to find out sometime in June whether they made it or not.  Another way to find out if your petition, or if your client or employee’s petition was selected in the lottery is to look at the bank account from which the check for the filing fee was written.  If the check has been cashed, it means you or your employee or client was selected in the lottery. 

If you or your employee or client is selected in the H-1B lottery, there is a high chance that this selection comes along with an RFE.  We have seen a sharp increase in the rate of RFEs over the past few years, and we expect this trend to continue.  Along with the rising rate, we have also seen common RFEs become more and more complicated, time-consuming, and expensive to answer.  Having a Plan B in place and ready to implement when the answer comes in June is essential to making sure everything is in order for the start of fiscal year 2020 on October 1st.

To formulate a Plan B, you need to understand where red flags or questions could be raised in your client’s case.  Three-year bachelor’s degrees, incomplete college or mismatched education, level one wages, and jobs that sometimes don’t require a US bachelor’s degree or higher as a clear industry standard are just a handful of the common problems H-1b beneficiaries have been facing.  At TheDegreePeople.com we work with difficult H-1B RFEs every year and we have a good understanding of what tends to trigger them.  Let us review your case to help you formulate a Plan B to stay one step ahead this RFE season.  For a free review of your case visit HERE.  We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.

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