H1B RFE of the Year: Level 1 Wages

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The Level 1 Wages RFE hit us all as a surprise this year, but the fact that CIS rolled out a new RFE with unprecedented scope is nothing new.

Virtually every year, CIS gives us a new challenge to overcome, and every year, we learn how to answer it.  The Level 1 Wages RFE is no different.  It just means we have to do our research and documentation better than CIS does in the RFE.

When it comes to the Level 1 Wages RFE, it takes expert opinion letters and extensive citations and documentation that shows the job of computer programmer at this wage level is specialized to meet H1B requirements.  This means, the job must require a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent.

CIS states that the job of computer programmer at Level 1 Wages does not meet H1B specialization requirements because entry level computer programmers are sometimes hired with just a US Associates degree.  While on its face, this may seem reasonable, but it just takes a little more research and documentation to debunk the justification of this RFE:

First, just because a job is set at Level 1 Wages doesn’t mean it’s entry level.  One big example that particularly applies to H1B eligible computer programmers is that these workers are often fresh out of college.  Having completed a Bachelors degree, but not having the hands on experience working in the field means employers must provide a high level of training and supervision as these workers begin.  Hence, the job is set at Level 1 Wages.

Second, CIS cites a passage in the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook where it says that sometimes employers will only require entry level computer programmers to have a US Associates degree.  However, that same passage also states that this is unusual and employers typically require their entry level programmers to have a US Bachelors degree.

If you or your employee or client received a Level 1 Wages RFE, we can help.  Simply send the following documents to predocs@cci123.com:

• LCA

• Beneficiary Resume and Educational Documents

• Employer Support Letter

• Detailed Job Description

• RFE

We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with a full review of the case and our suggestions on how to best proceed.

This article was written by Rebecca Little

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