Just less than a decade ago, we were seeing about 4% of all H1B petitions submitted met with Requests for Evidence (RFE’s). Now, one in every four petitions submitted gets an RFE response. What happened?
One big reason is the explosion in the number of petitions submitted every year. In the United States, jobs in STEM industries requiring highly skilled employees are being created faster than US-born workers can fill them so companies hiring from overseas. However, there is another big reason that has to do with the USICS tightening education standards.
To qualify for an H1B visa, your work must require specialized knowledge needing a US bachelor’s degree or higher, or the degree’s equivalent. Most employers will hire workers who have completed the required degree in the exact or related field of the job. If your degree is related to your job and there is specialized knowledge and skill overlap, you will meet employer standards. The catch is, even if you get hired with a degree in a field related to your job, the USCIS doesn’t recognize that as sufficient even though your employer does. The USCIS now requires your degree to be in your exact field of employ.
This change in standard is relatively new. In the not-to-distant past a related degree would suffice, but now petitioners are receiving RFE’s or worse when they go to apply for a visa to work a job they’ve already been hired for.
If this is the situation you’re in, don’t panic! The solution is actually pretty simple. If you have work experience in your field of employ, a credential evaluator with the authority to convert years of work experience into college credit can write a detailed evaluation to fill in any links missing between your degree and your job. Order an evaluation and submit it along with your H1B petition to prove to the USCIS that you do have the specialized skills and knowledge necessary to carry out the duties of your job.
When you order an evaluation, make sure the agency has professors on hand with the authority to make this work experience conversion. Otherwise, your evaluation is worthless. Get it right the first time and avoid an RFE. Submit a detailed evaluation alongside your educational documents and provide all of the evidence necessary to make approving your visa and easy decision.
This article was written by Rebecca Little