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Expert Opinion Letters Recommended to Prevent I-140 Issues with Visa Adjudication Memorandum

Specialty Occupation and Wage Level IssuesFor the past few years, specialty occupation issues triggered an unprecedented number of RFEs for occupations that had previously not run into trouble.  We were able to successfully get these RFEs overturned by including an expert opinion letter in the response that fully explains why the occupation meets visa requirements for specialization and educational requirements, and why the wage level it is set at is appropriate.  We have addressed this issue in both H-1B and I-140 cases.Expert opinion letters specific to I-140 issues must be submitted along with the initial petition because this year you will likely not get a second chance to clarify your case, or your employee or client’s case.  Below are three common situations that require an expert opinion letter that we can help you with:The beneficiary is filing a National Interest WaiverUSCIS does not clearly define what is in the “national interest.”  What is clearly spelled out is that the beneficiary serves a unique and functional role in serving the national interest due to their specific accomplishments, credentials, and abilities, and that a US citizen with a similar background could not fulfill this unique function.  An expert opinion letter is needed to clarify what is meant by national interest and explain why you, or your employee or client holds the key to serving it in a crucial way.Managerial or Executive CapacityAn expert opinion letter is needed here to make the distinction that the duties of your job, or your employee or client’s job meets the criteria for what defines a management position.  If you, or your employee or client is filing for a managerial or executive position, you will need an expert opinion letter to explain from the perspective of an outside expert in the industry that the beneficiary does not perform daily workplace functions, but rather MANAGES them.  This distinction can be subtle, which is why it requires additional emphasis in the petition.Extraordinary AbilityAn extraordinary ability letter from an expert in your field, or the field of your employee or client who is not affiliated with them is required to meet EB-1 criteria.  The beneficiary must have made significant contributions to their field and be internationally recognized to qualify for an I-140 visa based on extraordinary ability.  We have experts in every field on hand to write the support letter you need, or your employee or client needs.At TheDegreePeople.com we also help with preparing and filing immigration forms to aid legal assistants in the petition process.  For a free review of your case, or a free quote for form filing assistance, visit ccifree.com/.  We will get back to you in 48 hours or less. ]]>

Case Study: EB-2 Education RFE – Overturned!

  • They must have been hired for a job that requires a US master’s degree or higher, or a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent FOLLOWED BY at least five years of progressive work experience in the field.
  • They must have the education required for the EB-2 qualified job or exceptional ability as clearly proven with a National Interest Waiver.
  • One of the most common RFEs EB-2 candidates run into is an education issue RFE.  Our client came to us with an Indian three-year bachelor’s degree, many years of progressive work experience, and an RFE.  He had the years of experience to more than cover the five years of progressive work experience following having earned the bachelor’s degree.  The issue arose because with EB-2 educational requirements the bachelor’s degree is required to be a SINGLE SOURCE and CIS does not accept that the Indian three-year degree is the equivalent of the US four-year bachelor’s degree regardless of the number of classroom contact hours.  CIS requires the missing fourth year to be accounted for.With other visas, like H-1B, our client could have included a work experience conversion that converts three years of progressive work experience in a given field of specialization into one year of college education towards that degree to account for the missing year.  This does not work for EB-2 because that would not meet the equivalency requirement of a single source bachelor’s degree.Our solution was to write a credential evaluation fortified by CIS approval precedents and federal case law that took twelve years of our client’s progressive work experience in the field and converted it into the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree in the field.  Then, the next five years of work experience were included to meet EB-2 educational standards requiring a single source US bachelor’s degree FOLLOWED BY five years of work experience in the field.  The RFE was overturned.If you or your employee or client is facing an education RFE for EB-2, let us help you.  Even the candidate doesn’t have the years to cover a complete work experience conversion, there are other ways to address the equivalency issue through detailed credential evaluations tailored to your or your employee or client’s unique situation, and through expert opinion letters and National Interest Waiver options.  Let us review your case for free.  Visit ccifree.com/.  We will respond in 48 hours or less.  ]]>

    I-140 Problems: Common RFE Triggers and their Solutions

    In light of the new USCIS policy memorandum, adjudicators now have the discretion to deny a petition without first issuing and RFE or NOID for all visas, and this includes visas that require a Form I-140.While the new memorandum can feel like a reason to be nervous because we don’t know how this law on the books will play out in practice, it actually changes very little in how beneficiaries and their teams should approach the process.  That means looking at common places where applicants run into problems and then taking steps to prevent running into them.If you or your employee or client’s education or job don’t clearly meet the educational standards of the classification chosen in Part 2 of Form I-140, you need to make sure to provide the evidence and documentation you need to fill in the gaps between the requirements and you or your employee or client’s situation.  Incomplete college, education attained outside of the United States, or no formal education are all situations that require a detailed credential evaluation that takes the specific educational requirements of the visa and the classification into consideration.  If an evaluation agency does not ask about the job or the visa before you order, look elsewhere.  Before you file, make sure all answers on the PERM and on Form I-140 are consistent.  Inconsistencies will trigger an RFE, even if it is just a spelling error.  If there are changes needed, make sure to check yes for Part 4 Item 7 on the Form I-140.  Place a bright sheet of paper directly beneath Form I-140 that states this is an amended petition and the PERM has already been submitted and include the receipt number for the PERM.  This way, inconsistencies will be accompanied with a clear explanation.  CIS may inquire anyway – there are never any guarantees with CIS – but this will be much less likely and if you do receive an RFE you will be ready.At TheDegreePeople we work with I-140 RFEs every year and understand CIS approval trends and what triggers RFEs.  This year, you may not get a chance to fortify your case with an RFE.  Before you file, let us review your case and identify where in the petition an RFE is likely to be triggered so you can accommodate accordingly.  For a free review of your case visit ccifree.com/.  We will get back to you in 48 hours or less. ]]>

    I-140 Prevention and Solutions

    Position indicated on Form I-140 fit the category indicated in Part 2.Part 2 is where you must indicate the visa classification. This is based on what credentials are required as minimum requirements for entry into the position. You must choose a classification, and you must ONLY choose one. Applicants selecting the EB2 category tend to run into the most trouble here. The EB2 category requires the position and the beneficiary to hold a minimum of a US Master’s degree in the field, or a Bachelor’s degree in the field FOLLOWED BY five years of progressive work experience, or its equivalent. Since EB2 processing time is much faster than the EB3 classification, beneficiaries and their sponsors have incentive to try to make the position – and the candidate – fit into the wrong category. Oftentimes, the positiondoes fit into the EB2 classification, but sufficient evidence and expert analysis is lacking, and this is what you need to provide in your RFE response.Answers between the PERM and Form I-140 are inconsistent.Inconsistent answers between forms are a surefire way to trigger an RFE. Make sure answers are consistent in their content and in their spelling between forms. If there are amendments, make sure to check yes for Part 4, Item 7 accompanied by an attached explanation of any changes made on a bright colored sheet placed directly beneath Form I-140. Write that the PERM has already been submitted and that this is an amended petition. Include the receipt number for the PERM. This way, inconsistencies between the PERM and I-140 will be clearly explained to CIS and they will not have to ask inquire about it. Sometimes they will anyway, but you will have already strengthened your case with the amendment and this will help you greatly in an RFE arrives.The petition did not include a credential evaluation or included the WRONG credential evaluation.If the beneficiary’s degree or degrees were earned outside of the United States, a credential evaluation will be needed to clearly show the educational value of the degree in question by US educational standards. If the degree does not match the field of employ, or if there is incomplete college – or no college, but a lot of work experience in the field – a credential evaluation will be needed to close any gaps between the education the beneficiary has, and the education the beneficiary needs to meet the educational requirements of the category indicated in Part 2 of Form I-140. If a credential evaluation is not included and the beneficiary has anything but a straightforward degree earned in the US in the exact field of the job in question, it will likely trigger an RFE. Choosing the right credential evaluator is essential because educational requirements when it comes to equivalencies differ between visas. If the evaluator doesn’t ask about your, or your employee or client’s job or visa, look elsewhere. The agency should not rely solely on online equivalency databases, but rather have their own updated reference library that includes CIS approval precedents, federal caselaw, and international trade agreements regarding employment and education portability.At TheDegreePeople, we have experts in every field on hand to write expert opinion letters to strengthen your case, or your employee or client’s case, and evaluators with extensive experience in international education, college and graduate program admissions, and working with Form I-140 cases and their RFEs.For a free review of your case, visit ccifree.com/. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.]]>

    Your Best Solution to the EB2 Education Puzzle

    ccifree.com and submit the candidate’s educational documents and a current, accurate resume, along with the job and desired educational equivalency. We will get back to you within 24 hours with a pre-evaluation and full analysis, and consult with you on your options.Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723. ]]>

    Avoid that EB2 RFE: Sidestep Education Traps

  • Mismatched Education
  • If the candidate’s degree is in a field that is not an exact fit for the job offer on the PERM, you can expect an RFE at best. This is a major EB2 education trap because employers will hire candidates with degrees in related fields and work experience in the field, but CIS will not approve their visas. If this is your situation, or your employee or client’s situation, you will need a very detailed and specific credential evaluation to write the US academic equivalency of the right degree in the right specialization. CIS has very strict requirements about how you can meet these equivalency requirements when it comes to EB2. Talk to a credential evaluator to see if you can make this equivalency work with your, or your employee or client’s education and work experience. The answer may be no. If this is the case, don’t be tempted to pull one over on CIS. This will not work.
    1. Bachelor’s Degree Equivalency is not a Single Source
    EB2 education requirements state that to qualify a candidate must hold a US bachelor’s degree FOLLOWED BY at least five years of progressive work experience in the field, OR a US Master’s degree or higher in the field. If you or your employee or client has a bachelor’s degree from outside of the United States, or a US degree in the wrong field, you will need an equivalency that is a SINGLE SOURCE. CIS accepts three years of progressive work experience in the field as the equivalent of one year of US college credit towards a degree in that specialization. Likewise, following having earned a bachelor’s degree, CIS counts fives years of progressive work experience in your client’s field of employ as the equivalent of a US Master’s degree in the field provided that a bachelor’s degree was a minimum requirement for the job itself.This gets tricky real fast. We always recommend taking your or your employee or client’s education and a current, accurate resume to a credential evaluation agency that works regularly with EB2 visas and their RFEs, and that also works with college professors with the authority to grant college credit for work experience. Your will need to have the work experience necessary to provide a SINGLE SOURCE bachelor’s degree equivalency. This requirement is complex and requires expertise to determine whether you or your employee or client can qualify, and to provide the evidence, analysis, and documentation necessary to explain this to CIS in the petition.
    1. Poorly Translated Documents
    Candidates fall into EB2 education traps when they provide mistranslated or misevaluated documents. Some degrees simply don’t translate into English and retain their academic value. Some translation agencies have begun to provide evaluation services that are attractive to candidates wanting to save time and money. However, evaluation is a completely different, highly specialized service because of the complex nature of foreign academic differentiations and the fact that degrees with the same name hold different academic values between countries. Some degrees with different names hold the same equivalency. For example, Indian Chartered Accountancy is the foreign equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree in Accounting while the Canadian Chartered Accountancy and US CPA are not the equivalent of that advanced degree. This sort of problem comes up when academic value gets lost in translation, or when a translator takes credential evaluation liberties without the knowledge to assure accuracy.To sidestep this EB2 education trap, if your or your employee or client’s educational documents need to be translated and evaluated, make this a two-step process. Do NOT compromise on this. You would never take credentials to an evaluation agency for translation! Get them translated into English first, then take them to a credential evaluation agency. Agencies that work regularly with EB2 visas can identify common translation errors and make academic value judgments accordingly.To avoid these EB2 education traps, simply visit ccifree.com and attach all educational documents and a current, accurate resume, along with the job title. We will get back to you within 24 hours with a pre-evaluation of your case, or your employee or client’s case, and a full analysis of all of your options.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

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