H1B Support: How to Answer the Level 1 Wages RFE

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In the past decade, the prevalence of RFEs for H1B visas has skyrocketed and CIS has become evermore particular about the same two eligibility requirements.

To qualify for the H1B visa, a candidate’s job must require a US Bachelors degree or higher or its US equivalent, and the candidate must have those academic qualifications.

As competition for the same number of annual visas exploded, so too did the RFEs.  This year, CIS introduced a new RFE that targets computer programmers at Level 1 Wages, a significant segment of the H1B candidacy.

If you or your employee or client received this RFE, it means that CIS has used an isolated passage in the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook to justify not approving the visa.  This passage states that sometimes employers will hire entry level computer programmers with only a US Associates degree.  The problem is, this same passage states that employers usually require a minimum of a US Bachelors degree for this position.  At the same time, wage levels don’t actually work like this and just because an employee starts at Level 1 Wages doesn’t mean it’s an entry level job.  That’s not how wage levels work.

To answer this RFE, you or your employee or client will need an expert opinion letter and supporting documents and analysis that shows that the job is specialized to meet CIS qualifications.

You will also need to go an extra step to make sure all of your bases are covered.  When RFEs get muddled, difficult, and seemingly impossible, the best solution is to go back to the original H1B requirements.

In your response, you will need to make sure the candidate clearly meets H1B educational requirements, holding a US Bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent in the exact field of the H1B job.  Depending on the candidate’s educational background and degree, this may require a credential evaluation that fills in the gaps between the education and CIS educational requirements and approval trends.

For a no charge and no obligation review of the case, please send the following documents to predocs@cci123.com:

• LCA

• Beneficiary resume and educational documents

• Detailed description of the job and its duties

• Employer support letter

• RFE

We will get back to you within 48 hours with a full review of the case and our recommendations for how to respond.

This article was written by Rebecca Little

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