h1b visa approval

What Makes an H-1B Job a Specialty Occupation?

Over the past few years, H-1B cap-subject petitions have received record-breaking rates of RFEs for Specialty Occupation.  Many of these RFEs struck occupations that had never been called into question before.

USCIS visa approval trends change every year, and often the RFEs issued are virtually unanswerable by their own guidelines.  At TheDegreePeople.com we always advise our clients facing difficult RFEs to go back to the basics: what are the original H-1B requirements?  Specifically for the Specialty Occupation RFE, the central question is what makes a job a Specialty Occupation?  Answer this question and you’ve answered the issue.

USCIS determines that a job does meet specialty occupation requirements if it meets one of these four standards:

  1. This position normally requires a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree or higher to be hired.
  2. This position in the specific industry or for this specific employer requires a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree or higher because of the unique complexity of this position.
  3. A bachelor’s degree or higher minimum requirement for this position is a standard hiring practice for this specific employer.
  4. This specific position in question is uniquely specialized to the extent that only a candidate with a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree or higher has the skills and knowledge necessary to performing the duties and responsibilities of the position.

The decision is based on the entry for the position in the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the opinions of experts, and on the details and documentation provided about the duties and responsibilities of the job, past hiring practices for the position, and industry standards when it comes to educational and experiential background for the position in question.

Read the Occupational Outlook Handbook for your H-1B position, or your employee or client’s H-1B position to understand which avenue is most appropriate to take for proving specialization.  Then, it’s your job to find the right expert to lend their opinion in a letter to fortify your case.  This expert works in the field of the specialty occupation, which means the expert cannot just be a professor who TEACHES the field but must have extensive field experience.  Then you must provide the expert and USCIS a detailed job description that emphasizes theoretical and practical application of specialized skills and knowledge on the job.  Provide proof of industry standard through showing USCIS ads for the same position for a different company in the industry, and provide documentation of past hiring practices.

At TheDegreePeople.com, we have experts in every specialization on hand to write the expert opinion letter you need, or your employee or client needs to get that H-1B visa approved.  They all have extensive experience and prestige in their field.  For a free review of your case, visit HERE.  We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.

How to Properly Address H1B Education Requirements

  • Does the candidate have a US bachelor’s degree or higher?
  • Does the candidate’s degree match their specialty occupation?
  • Many H1-B candidates do not have US bachelor’s degrees because their degree is from outside of the United States. Some candidates have not completed their degrees or received specialized training through other means. If this is your client’s situation, you need to prove that they have the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree or higher for their visa to be approved, and this must be documented with a credential evaluation. Candidates with three-year degrees, four-year degrees from countries other than the US, or incomplete or missing education can have their work experience evaluated for equivalency to years of college credit in their industry. This work experience must show that the candidate learned new, and progressively difficult, specialized skills through this work experience, and took on more and more responsibility. Three years of progressive work experience is the equivalent of one year of college with a major in that field. Credential evaluators with the authority to convert years of progressive work experience into college credit can help you and your client fill in the educational gaps between the US educational system and the educational system of the country your client’s degree is from.To prove that your client’s degree matches their job title, you need to provide evidence that the education and training required for your candidate’s degree prepare your client for the duties required in his or her H1-B job. To do this, you can submit a detailed overview of the specific duties of your client’s job, your client’s employer, and how the complexities of your client’s job relate to his or her degree. Meeting the evidence standards for this requirement may also require an expert opinion letter, documentation that similar companies require employees to hold your client’s degree for similar occupations, and even printouts of degree fields typically associated with your client’s job.In recent years, CIS has required that H1-B candidates’ degrees be an exact match for their job title. While employers will hire candidates with degrees in related fields, CIS will not approve their visas if the degree is not an exact match. This is a new CIS trend that must be taken into account when filing an H1-B petition to avoid an RFE. If your candidate holds a generalized degree or a degree in a mismatched field, get in touch with a credential evaluator. With the progressive work experience conversion, an evaluator can fill in the gap between your client’s degree specialization, and your client’s job title with years of progressive work experience in your client’s job title.When you look for the right credential evaluator for your client’s case, make sure you choose one that follows CIS trends and has a deep understanding of the nuances of education internationally.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of CCI TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723. ]]>

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