For the first time in years, the number of H1B petitions filed for FY 2018 in April 2017 dropped. 199,000 petitions came in, down from 236,000 for FY 2017 in April 2016. However, this number still far exceeds the annual cap of 65,000 H1B visas and an additional 20,000 for beneficiaries with US Masters degrees or higher or equivalent.
At the same time, last year saw an unprecedented spike in RFEs. Between January 1st and August 31st, CIS issued 85,000 RFEs, which is a 45% increase from that same period of time in 2016.
Going into this filing season starting Monday April 2nd, 2018 for FY 2019, we’re still anticipating the cap will be exceeded quickly and there will be an H1B lottery, and we’re anticipating a high volume of RFEs. To make sure your petition, or your client or employee’s petition gets into the H1B lottery, it MUST be filed between April 2nd and April 6th, 2018.
As you prepare the petition, it’s important to keep in mind common RFEs from last year so you can take measures to prevent them this year. Last year, CIS issued an unprecedented number of RFEs regarding wages levels and occupational specialization. Here’s how it breaks down:
First, H1B eligibility requires beneficiaries to be paid the prevailing wages and benefits for that position in companies in that industry of that size, and in that geographic location. Last year, a common RFE claimed that the wage level for the job in question was set too low, based on the complexity and specialization of the duties of the job.
Second, for a job to be eligible for H1B, it must require a minimum of a US bachelors degree or its equivalent or higher. CIS issued an unprecedented number of Level 1 Wages RFEs last year claiming that the wage level indicates the job is entry-level. This becomes a problem when entry-level positions in the industry, or the job in question don’t meet the minimum H1B educational requirements.
Before you file, make sure the beneficiary is being paid the prevailing wage for their H1B job. If the job is set at Level 1 Wages, but the position is not entry-level and does meet CIS educational requirements, you will need to include an expert opinion letter and additional documentation in the petition that states why the job and the wages still meet H1B requirements. We can help. Visit ccifree.com/ for a free review of your case.
This article was written by Rebecca Little