Specialty Occupation RFE: How to Prevent the Toughest RFE of Last Season

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Last year, CIS came down hard on computer programmers earning level 1 wages. The reasoning was that because some employers hire entry level programmers with only a US associate’s degree as a minimum requirement, the job didn’t meet H1B specialization requirements. The H1B visa is for jobs that require a minimum of a US bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent to meet occupational specialization requirements.

This RFE not only serves as a warning for computer programmers at level 1 wages coming up on this next H1B filing season, but also for all beneficiaries in borderline occupations, or in jobs that could be mistaken for borderline occupations. These jobs, like entry level computer programmers, don’t necessarily require a US bachelors degree as a minimum according to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.

To prove specialization, you will need to include a detailed job description and evidence to back up the claim that the job meets CIS specialization requirements. You will need to provide the ad for the job that shows a minimum requirement of a US bachelors degree or higher, and you will need evidence that shows that this position in that industry at similar companies also holds this minimum educational requirement. If the job in question is uniquely specialized as to require an advanced degree where similar positions in the industry do not, you will need to clearly show why this is the case and include an expert opinion letter to back up your claim.

Last year, CIS issued RFEs claiming that because entry level computer programmers are sometimes hired with only a US associate’s degree, the job doesn’t meet CIS specialization requirements. There were two problems here: First, the evidence CIS used to support this claim is a passage in the Occupational Outlook Handbook that states sometimes employers will hire entry level programmers with only an associates, but that same passage also states that this is not the norm, and the position typically requires a minimum of a bachelors degree. Second, just because a job is set at level 1 wages doesn’t mean it’s an entry level position, and that also doesn’t mean the beneficiary isn’t being paid the prevailing wage for that position. There are many factors to be taken into consideration when determining wage levels.

If you or your client or employee is a computer programmer working at level 1 wages, you will need to include an expert opinion letter to prevent an RFE. We have experts on hand 24 hours a day 7 days a week to write the letter you or your client or employee needs to prevent a specialty occupation RFE. For a no charge and no obligation review of your case, or your employee or client’s case, visit ccifree.com.

This article was written by Rebecca Little