Next week, USCIS begins accepting H-1B petitions on Monday
April 1st. We suspect that
this year there will be more than enough petitions to fill the 65,000 general
H-1B cap-subject visas and the additional 20,000 H-1B visas for advanced
degrees, resulting in a lottery.
Getting selected in the lottery is just the first step of the process. Last year, the rate of RFEs for H-1B petitions jumped 45% from the year before, and of the petitions that received an RFE only 60% ended up being approved.
The two most common RFE issues that blocked beneficiaries
from getting their visas approved outright – and in some cases entirely – were
specialty occupation and wage level.
These two issues often came tied together as USCIS made the assumption
that occupations set at level one wages were entry level, and many of these
assumed positions did not ALWAYS require a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree or
higher for entry not the position. For
this reason, USCIS stated that the beneficiary either was not being paid the
prevailing wage for the specialty occupation, or the job did not meet specialty
This year, USCIS adjudicators have the authority to deny
petitions outright without first issuing an RFE to give beneficiaries the
chance to strengthen their case. That
means you have to get it right the first time.
When the petition is filed, be sure to include a detailed
job description that clearly shows the complex nature of the job, including
examples of duties in which theoretical or practical application of specialized
knowledge must be applied. You need to
provide sufficient documentation that the job is complex in nature, and that
the position requires a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent to
perform. This can be done by providing the ad for the job along with ads for
the same position in different companies within the industry, documentation of
past employer hiring practices to show that the position always requires this
educational minimum qualification, and an expert opinion letter from a
professional with extensive experience WORKING IN THE FIELD of the H-1B job
that explains why this position meet specialty occupation requirements, and why
the wage level is appropriate.
Petitions are rejected when there is not sufficient evidence
to show that the job, the employer, the beneficiary, and the contract all meet
USCIS has assured H-1B hopefuls and their sponsors that a
petition will not be denied simply because the wages are set at level one. Don’t take chances. Make sure to give USCIS a detailed breakdown
of all of the factors that went into setting the wage level backed up with an
expert opinion letter.
Remember, the right expert to write the opinion letter USCIS
will accept – because expert opinion letters are often rejected – is someone
who has extensive experience working in the field. A professor in the field is not sufficient;
the expert must have actual working experience in the field rather than just
teaching it for the opinion to have weight.
At CCI TheDegreePeople.com we vet our experts to make sure they have the
right credentials and work experience.
We have an over 90% approval rate for specialty occupation and wage
level RFEs. The more information you can
provide your expert about the H-1B job the better the letter will be and the
higher chance that you, or your employee or client will have of H-1B visa
For a free review of your case visit ccifree.com/. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less and have rush delivery options for the last minute.
This article was written by Rebecca Little