H1B visa

H-1B Support: Refuting the Specialty Occupation RFE

specialty occupation according to USCIS statutes. Here is where it gets murky:There are two very similar but profoundly different definitions of specialty occupation within the same CIS statute.INA § 214(i)(1) defines it as, “An occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge and attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.”INA § 214.2(h)(4)(ii) holds the same definition EXCEPT instead of stating the degree must be in THE specific specialty, it states itmust be in A specific specialty.Employers will hire H-1B employees for positions when they have a degree that exactly matches the job, or that is related to the job in such a way that there is significant specialized knowledge and skill overlap. This still tends to be a narrow range of degree specializations. In the past, CIS has approved visas according the second definition that allowed for beneficiaries with degrees in related fields that did not exactly match the H-1B job because the job requiring that minimum credential would qualify for H-1B eligibility under that definition. In recent years, CIS has switched to the first, strict definition that requires beneficiaries have “a bachelr’s degree or higher in THE specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.”However, if you, or your employee or client receieves an RFE for specialty occupation, disputing these definitions will not help you. The important part to focus on in BOTH of these definitions is: “or its equivalent.”In the Tapis International v. INS decision, it was established that equivalent encompasses academic and experienced-based training in various combinations. This means that a job or a candidate doesn’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree in THE specific speciality to be eligible for H-1B. There are four options, one of which must be met:

  1. The job in question normally requires a minimum of a US bachelors degree or higher for entry into the position in the United States.
  2. This minimum degree requirement is normal for this job in similar organizations in the industry.
  3. The job in question is uniquely complex to need a US bachelors degree or higher as a minimum requirement for entry into this position.
  4. The employer sponsoring the H-1B beneficiary commonly requires a this degree as a minimum for entry into the position, and this can be proven by their hiring history.
If the job meets one of these four requirements – and the beneficiary meets the educational and experiential requirements as well – the job meets H-1B eligibility requirements. However, you will need evidence to back up that the specialization of the job in question is consistent with industry standards or employer hiring practices. This requires a detailed employer support letter, but CIS will NOT just take the employer’s word for it. Your RFE response must also include an expert opinion letter to back up that the job does meet H-1B specialization requirements. At TheDegreePeople.com we have experts on hand 24/7 to review your case and write the letter you need, or your employee or client needs to get that RFE overturned. Every year, we work with difficult H-1B RFE cases and we get them overturned virtually every time. For a no charge and no obligation review of your case, visit ccifree.com/. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with a full analysis and expert consultation on how to best proceed.]]>

Attention: H1B Filing Opens TODAY!!!

nd filing season for H-1B visa petitions officially opens. USCIS will continue to accept petitions until the cap of 65,000 visas plus an additional 20,000 for candidates with masters degrees or higher is filled, or for at least five business days.For the past few years, the cap has been met before the mandatory five business days is up, so that means you have to file THIS WEEK for you, or your employee or client to have a shot at making the H-1B lottery for FY2019.Last year, we saw an unprecedented number of RFEs, especially targeting computer programmers. This year, make sure you take steps to preempt an RFE or rejection. Don’t fall into common RFE traps by taking these precautions:

  1. Consistent Answers – make sure what is entered on the LCA matches the petition, including the job title and description.
  2. Start Date is NO EARLIER THAN October 1st 2019.
  3. Borderline jobs that don’t necessarily require a US Bachelors degree or higher according to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook are accompanied by a detailed job description and expert opinion letter to prove specialization.
  4. The beneficiary’s degree or degree equivalency specialization matches the job title or is accompanied by a credential evaluation.
  5. Degrees earned outside of the US, incomplete college, or mismatched degree specialization is accompanied by a credential evaluation.
If you, or your employee or client needs a credential evaluation or expert opinion letter, don’t file the petition without one. We have credential evaluators and experts on hand 24/7 ready to write the evaluation or expert opinion letter you need, or your employee or client needs for visa approval. We offer rush delivery options at affordable prices down to as fast as 12 hours by the clock, and we work off of emailed copies of educational documents. Time is of the essence. Simply visit ccifree.com/ to get started now!]]>

Countdown to April 2nd: Your H-1B Last Minute Checklist

nd and is projected to exceed the cap of 65,000 visas plus an additional 20,000 for candidates with masters degrees or higher by Friday, April 6th. That means, you have to be ready as soon as filing begins to ensure you, or your employee or candidate makes the H-1B lottery.Don’t let the last minute lure you into filing a sloppy or incomplete petition. Before you file, make sure that the answer and information are consistent across all documents including the LCA, the petition, and all documentation describing the duties and requirements for the job. Inconsistent answers will likely trigger an RFE, and a closer scrutiny of the case.Common education RFEs occur when a client has a degree specialization that doesn’t match the job, incomplete or generalized education, or a degree from outside of the United States, and the petition is not filed with a credential evaluation that clearly articulates the academic value of your or your employee or client’s education and work experience in terms of US academic value. It is also important to verify that the degree was earned in an accredited institutions.If you or your client or employee has one of these educational situations, it is important to order a credential evaluation to file WITH the H-1B petition come April 2nd. A work experience conversion may be necessary to account for the gaps between your education, or your client or employee’s education and H-1B educational eligibility requirements.Last year, CIS issued a record number of RFEs for H-1B petitions, especially for beneficiaries working as computer programmers at level 1 wages. If your client has a borderline job that doesn’t ALWAYS require a US bachelors degree as a minimum requirement according to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, your case, or your client or employee’s case will need additional evidence including an expert opinion letter to prove why this position is uniquely specialized.There are some situations that are RFE magnets. If you, or your employee or client:• Has a degree from outside of the US,• Has a three-year bachelors degree,• Has an incomplete degree or no college at all,• Has a generalized degree or a degree in a major that doesn’t exactly match the H-1B job, or• Works a borderline occupation where it’s unclear whether the educational qualifications meet H-1B requirements for specialization,You need to know before you file and address the situation accordingly to preempt an RFE.At TheDegreePeople.com, we work with difficult H-1B cases and H-1B RFEs every year. We know what triggers and RFE and we know how to take steps to effectively preempt them. USCIS is always a wildcard, so we keep an eye on their approval trends every year. For a free review of your case, or your client or employee’s case, visit ccifree.com/. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with a full analysis, pre-evaluation, and our expert recommendations on what to do to avoid an RFE.]]>

Everything You Need to Know About the H-1B Cap

Monday, April 2nd 2018 and is likely to only run through Friday, April 6th 2018. This is because once the number of petitions has exceeded the annual cap, CIS shuts its doors to more petitions. However, CIS must continue to accept petitions for five business days even if the cap is exceeded. In the last five years, the H-1B cap – including the 20,000 additional visa slots for beneficiaries with masters degrees or higher – was reached in the first five business days. Last year, CIS received about 199,000 during the five-day filing period.This filing period is for employment that begins on October 1st 2018, the start of the fiscal year 2019 that runs October 1st 2018 to September 30th 2019. If the start date is set for any earlier than October 1st 2018, the petition will be rejected.If the cap is exceeded, CIS runs a computer-generated random lottery to select which petitions will be considered for visa eligibility.That means, to ensure you or your client or employee has a shot at H-1B visa approval, you must:

  1. Be ready to file the petition on Monday April 2nd.
  2. Have an impeccable petition with all of the necessary forms, evidence, and documentation to ensure that once selected the petition will be approved.
If you miss this upcoming filing period, you will not be able to file again until April of 2019, and your employee will not be able to start work until October 1st, 2019. That means it’s time to get those petitions organized.For a free review of your case, or your client or employee’s case, visit ccifree.com.]]>

The Dreaded Specialty Occupation RFE – How Does USCIS Determine Occupation Eligibility?

specialty occupation as a job that requires application of a highly specialized body of knowledge on a practical and theoretical level, and requires the worker to have earned a US bachelor’s degree or higher, or its equivalent as a minimum requirement for entry into that job in the United States. It’s important to note here that the job itself needs to require this educational minimum, it is not enough for the beneficiary to have earned a bachelors degree if it’s not needed to gain entry to the field.This definition serves as the basis for what CIS will consider a job that qualifies for H1B status. However, this definition is too simplistic to apply to the nature of specialized occupations in the real world. Jobs do not exist in a vacuum, and different states have different educational requirements for entry into many specialized occupations. Some require a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum, and others don’t for the same job, just across state lines.There are two standards that allow for some level of subjectivity within the industry, and at the discretion of the employer that factor into CIS’ determination. The first is the industry standard criteria, added in 1990. What this standard means for H1B occupations is that the position in question must typically require the attainment of a US bachelors degree or higher as a minimum requirement, and that in similar organizations, this same baseline qualification is standard for this position.The second is the employer-standard, which becomes useful when the job in question doesn’t meet the industry standard because of circumstances unique to the position and company in question. To meet CIS specialization requirements by this standard, the employer must typically require a US bachelors degree or higher for the position in question, and that the nature and duties of this position are uniquely specialized so as to require this advanced degree.If your client or employee is in one such job, you need to go a step further in the petition to show that state regulations for this occupation meet H1B specialization requirements. Likewise, if your employee or client has a job that does require an advanced degree, but does not obviously require an advanced degree, detailed evidence and documentation is needed to prove specialization to CIS.At TheDegreePeople, we work with RFEs and difficult cases every year. We know what jobs and degrees trigger RFEs, and we know how to prevent them. Visit ccifree.com for a no-charge and no-obligation review of your client or employee’s case.]]>

H1B Alert: Don't Submit the Right Evaluation for the Wrong Visa

  • Did they ask about the visa?
  • Did they ask about the job?
  • Do they work with H1B cases and their RFEs on a regular basis?
  • The right evaluation agency for you case, or your client or employee’s case is the one that asks about the visa and the job, and works regularly with H1B cases and H1B RFE cases.At TheDegreePeople, we follow CIS approval trends, and work regularly with H1B cases and their RFEs. We know what triggers common RFEs, and we know how to prevent them. For a free review of your case, or your client or employee’s case, visit http://ccifree.com/.]]>

    Is H1B the Right Filing for You? Find out NOW

    st is coming up fast, and it’s time to organize those H1B petitions. Before you begin the filing process, it’s important to know for certain that the candidate and the job meet H1B eligibility requirements.H1B requirements state that the job must require a minimum of a US bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent to perform, and the candidate must meet this educational standard in the field of the H1B job. That means you or your client or employee needs a US bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent in the correct field. Candidates with education from outside of the US, incomplete education, or complete education with a major in a field that doesn’t exactly match their H1B job get RFEs without taking precautionary measures in the initial petition. Last year, we saw a spike in occupational RFEs where computer programmers at level 1 wages were targeted for lacking in specialization.This year, before you file, make sure that the requirements are met, and that you have the additional documentation and evidence needed to prevent any RFEs you or your employee or client may be susceptible to given their circumstance.There are two factors to take into consideration when determining H1B eligibility:1. The OccupationDoes the beneficiary’s occupation meet H1B requirements? To qualify, it must require a minimum of a US bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent to carry out the complex duties of the job. To prove this, you will need to clearly show that this educational requirement is the standard for the industry, meaning that similar jobs in the industry at similar companies also have this minimum educational requirement. If this job is uniquely complex, you will have to clearly show how its duties require an unusual level of specialization. If you or your employee or client is a computer programmer at level 1 wages, you will need to include an expert opinion letter that explains how wage levels work in this instance – that level 1 wages does not mean the job is an entry-level position – and a detailed description of the job’s duties showing that a minimum of a US bachelors degree or its equivalent is needed.2. The EducationThe beneficiary needs to have a US bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent in the exact field of the H1B job to get approved without an RFE. If you or your employee or client has a degree from outside of the US, a degree with a major that doesn’t match the job exactly, a generalized degree, or no completed degree, you will need to submit a credential evaluation along with the petition that fills in the missing gaps. This evaluation must be tailored to the beneficiary’s unique situation that takes their pathway through education, the job, and the visa requirements into consideration alongside CIS approval trends, graduate program and university admissions precedents, international trade agreements regarding educational portability, international education, and a whole host of other factors. If you talk to an agency and they don’t ask about the job or visa, look elsewhere, because without this information the right evaluation cannot be written.However, before you go through the process of ordering the evaluation and organizing the petition, you need to make sure you have, or your employee or client has the progressive work experience, external training, and academic course content to meet CIS educational requirements. For a free review of your case, visit ccifree.com and submit the educational documents and resume, and indicate the job in question. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with a full analysis, whether or not the beneficiary can meet CIS educational requirements, and if so what is needed to be done to meet these requirements clearly.]]>

    H1B RFE Survival Guide For FY 2019

    st 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.]]>

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