how to answer an rfe

RFE Solutions: Your RFE Won’t Help You Answer It!

  • The job must be a specialty occupation.
  • The candidate must hold a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent or higher in the field of this specialty occupation.
  • The candidate and the employer must have an employer-employee relationship.
  • The candidate must be paid prevailing wages and benefits for the job for companies of that size in that geographical location.
  • Which of these four requirements is lacking? For qualifications 3 and 4, you can provide the employee contract that shows the nature of the duties you or your employee or client will be performing and the requirements and codes of conduct of the work place. Provide paystubs and W2 information along with documentation about similar jobs for similar companies in that geographic location to show that you or your employee or client is receiving the prevailing wages and benefits.If the petition is lacking in the first qualification, you need to show that the job requires an advanced degree, and specialized skills and knowledge to perform. To meet this requirement, you can provide the advertisement for the job that includes minimum qualifications for the job. You should also provide ads for similar jobs in the same industry for companies of a similar size and scope. If this particular job has higher requirements than similar jobs because this situation uniquely requires specialized knowledge, include an expert opinion letter clearly explaining why this is the case.Requirement 2 has become trickier every year. In the past, CIS has approved the visas of candidates with degrees in fields related to their specialty occupation. Now, candidates must have a degree that is an exact match for their job. Before you get bogged down in the wording of your RFE, find out what the education situation is and what you can do about it to answer the RFE. Simply go to ccifree.com and submit a current resume and the candidate’s educational documents. Indicate the job and desired degree equivalency and specialization, and we will get back to you within 24 hours with a pre-evaluation and analysis of your options.If the degree is not an exact match for the specialty occupation, a credential evaluation that converts years of work experience in the field into college credit towards a US bachelor’s degree in that major is needed.Candidates with degrees from outside of the US also run into trouble with this requirement, particularly candidates with 3-year bachelor’s degrees from India. If you or your employee or client earned the degree from outside of the US, do not submit it without a credential evaluation. Transcripts must be translated and evaluated. These are two very different, and VERY specialized services that cannot be grouped into a one-stop shop. The value of a degree gets lost in translation, and sometimes there is no direct translation for a degree from abroad. Sometimes, degrees do not have the word “degree” in the title but are the functional equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree. Be sure this is a two-step process that first utilizes the services of a translation agency, and THEN utilizes the services of a credential evaluation agency.Before you get too far into answering the RFE, let us provide a pre-evaluation of the candidate’s education to help overturn an educational RFE. Simply go to ccifree.com and attach the candidate’s educational documents and a current resume, along with the job title and desired degree specialization. We will get back to you within 24 hours with a full analysis and all of your options.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    You Can Sidestep the Most Common H1B RFEs

    Degree does not match the job titleWe expect this CIS approval trend that emerged about six or seven years ago to hold strong. Your degree, or your employee client’s degree must be an exact match for the job. H1B visa holders must work specialty jobs and have the specialized skills and expertise required to perform the duties of these jobs. To prove specialization, you or your employee or client must either hold a degree in that exact field, or have the individual credits and work experience to write an equivalency to that exact field. For example, if you or your employee or client has a job in finance and a Bachelor’s degree in business, you need to include a credential evaluation that takes a close look at the candidate’s courses taken in finance, as well as work experience in the field of finance. Work experience – so long as the candidate took on progressively more responsibility through this work – can be converted into years of college credit with three years of work experience equating to one year of college credit in the field. This evaluation is necessary to sidestep this VERY common RFE.Three-year bachelor’s degreeAt TheDegreePeople, we work with many clients with Indian three-year Bachelor’s degrees. Every year, we see that without a credential evaluation, virtually all of these clients receive an RFE. In the past, we’ve been able to answer these RFEs by showing that the course content of three-year degrees is the equivalent to a US four-year bachelor degree by converting classroom contact hours into college credit hours using the Carnegie Unit conversion of fifteen classroom contact hours to one hour of college credit. However, last year it did not work. Luckily, we always have a plan B.This year, if you or your employee or client has a three-year bachelor’s degree, you should understand right off the bat that your client will need a work experience conversion to get the H1B visa approved. CIS is hung up on that missing fourth year, and at the end of the day, it’s up to them whether or not to approve your visa, or your employee or client’s visa. Consult with a credential evaluation agency about the candidate’s education and work experience and include a credential evaluation with a work experience conversion in the initial H1B filing on April 1st.If either or both of these situation matches that of you or your employee or client, do not file without the appropriate work experience conversion. It’s important to remember that not all credential evaluation agencies are authorized to make this work experience conversion. Only a college or university professor is authorized to issue college credit for years of progressive work experience. The credential evaluation agency you want to work with has these professors on staff or on contract to write the evaluation you or your employee or client needs to sidestep an education RFE.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    H-1B Education RFEs: Right Degree, Wrong Country – Right Degree, Wrong Field

    Right Degree, Wrong CountryA common RFE is triggered when a beneficiary has the right degree from a country that is not the United States. For example, if you, or your employee or client has a bachelor’s degree in biology from India, and a job in the field of biology that requires a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent, what CIS needs to know is whether or not your education, or your employee or client’s education covers the skills and knowledge necessary to perform the job. Since curriculums, education structures, academic content, and duration of programs differ between countries, CIS does not have all of the information to make this decision. Before you file, talk to a credential evaluator who can write a detailed evaluation of the academic content of your degree, or your employee or client’s degree, as well as experience working in the field of biology. This evaluation will show that even though this degree is not from the United States, you, or your employee or client is prepared with the specialized skill set and knowledge base necessary for the US job. These kinds of petitions filed without a credential evaluation are almost guaranteed to be met with an RFE instead of an approval. If this is what happened to you or your employee or client, it’s not too late to get the evaluation you need. Be sure when you talk to a credential evaluation agency that they understand the nuances of the H-1B visa requirements when it comes to education, as well as current CIS approval trends.Right Degree, Wrong SpecializationLet’s say your bachelor’s degree, or your employee or client’s bachelor’s degree is in biology, but the job is in chemistry. With only that information, CIS has no way to know whether or not you or your employee or client has the skills and knowledge needed to perform the duties of chemist with a biology degree. The missing information is an evaluation of your education or your employee or client’s education and work experience. If you or your employee or client took classes in chemistry during college, those can be evaluated to count towards the right specialization. If you have, or your employee client has years of work experience in the field of chemistry in which he or she took on progressively more responsibility and learned new skills in the process, that can count towards the right specialization as well. Talk to an evaluator with the authority to closely examine the course content of your degree, or your employee or client’s degree, as well as the authority to convert years of progressive work experience in the field into college credit hours towards the right degree in the right specialization.Both of these common education RFEs have to do with CIS needing more information about whether or not you or your employee or client has the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their job. With literally hundreds of thousands of petitions to sort through, CIS needs information spelled out very clearly and in an easily digestible fashion. At the same time, the person evaluating your petition or your employee or client’s petition is most likely not an international education expert with the extensive knowledge of different academic structures and equivalencies ready at their disposal. What they don’t know needs to be including in the initial petition, and if not then certainly in your response to the RFE.About the AuthorSheila 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.  ]]>

    4 Problematic RFEs You and Your Client Need to Know About

  • Specialty Occupation
  • If it is not clear to CIS that your client’s job is a specialty occupation – one that requires a minimum of US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent – this is the kind of RFE that will be issued. To answer this RFE, you must prove that your client’s job requires specialized skills and knowledge to perform that only comes once a certain level of education and experience is met. How can you do this? CIS will typically ask for the ad for your client’s job that indicates the minimum requirements necessary to perform. Include ads for similar jobs in similar industries to show that this level of education is necessary for this kind of job in this kind of industry and that your client’s job was not tailored to meet the visa requirements of your client. If this particular job DOES require an unusual level of expertise due to the nature of the company, provide an expert opinion letter and documentation showing why this job in particular requires an advanced degree.
    1. Degree does not match the job.
    In the past, CIS has approved visas for beneficiaries who had degrees in fields relating to but not precisely matching their job titles. In fact, employers regularly hire workers with degrees in related fields because the specialized knowledge and skill set required for the job are taught in certain related fields. However, CIS trends regarding this have changed in the past six or seven years, and now we are seeing RFEs for petitions that would have been approved before. Another reason your client may have received this kind of RFE is that they hold a generalized degree. CIS requirements state that a generalized degree without experience in the field is insufficient for H1B visa approval. If your client is in this situation, a credential evaluator can take a close look at the course content of your client’s education and convert classroom contact hours in the field into college credit that count towards a specialized major in the correct field. CIS will also accept years of progressive work experience in the field counted towards a major in the field. An authorized credential evaluator can convert three years of progressive work experience – meaning your client took on more and more responsibility as time progressed on the job – to one year of college credit in the field. These conversions will fill in the gap between your client’s education and the H1B job that trigger this kind of RFE.
    1. Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree
    One of the most common triggers for H1B RFEs is a client who has an Indian three-year bachelor’s degree. While these degrees tend to have more classroom contact hours than US four-year bachelor’s degrees, CIS requires the missing fourth year to be accounted for in order to accept the equivalency to a US four-year bachelor’s degree. If your client is in this situation, talk to a credential evaluator about your client’s education and work experience. Three years of progressive work experience can be converted into one year of college credit in the field to account for the missing fourth year. If your client has a three-year bachelor’s degree, NEVER file without this kind of credential evaluation. It will almost ALWAYS receive an RFE without one.
    1. Difficult Degrees
    Some degrees do not have a clear US equivalency, especially degrees that do not call themselves degrees. For example, the Chartered Accountancy Certificate from India can actually be evaluated to be the equivalency of a US bachelor’s degree in accounting because the steps in education require post-secondary equivalencies. At the same time, the US CPA and the Canadian Chartered Accountancy certificate are not bachelor degree equivalencies. This is confusing and needs extreme clarification when presented to CIS. For this reason, degrees such as this one are often met with RFEs. Sometimes, specialty occupations simply do not have degrees that clearly fit their field, such as Computer Systems Analyst. So many RFEs have been issued for H1B candidates with this job because it is unclear what degree fits this very specialized, very specific occupation. If your client has a difficult degree, or a job that does not have a clear field specialization in terms of college majors, talk to a credential evaluator with an in depth understanding of international education. This kind of evaluator will know which degree to reference for the equivalency, and the steps in education required to earn a certificate in the country your client completed their education in.If your client receives an RFE for an education or occupation-related situation, talk to a credential evaluator with extensive experience working with difficult cases, RFEs, NOIDs, and Denials. As evaluators who see these kinds of cases day in and day out, we understand what triggers them, what questions CIS seeks to answer in issuing them, and how to answer them. We do not charge to review your case before you file or if you get an RFE or Denial. As an evaluation agency with international education experts on staff, we have a clear understanding of CIS trends as well as being aware of creative ways to successfully address even the most complicated RFEs. For a review at no charge or obligation please go to www.cciFree.com and fill it out. Send the requested documents. I will personally get back to you within 24 hours.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    How to Avoid that H1B RFE

  • Make sure the information is consistent across all of the documents and forms.
  • Don’t ever submit an H1B petition without double-checking every form and document for consistency and accuracy. This means spelling of names, dates of jobs and education, names of employers and schools, and locations of these jobs and schools. Everything must be consistent. CIS is on the lookout for visa fraud. Inaccurate or inconsistent answers are big red flags that can arouse suspicion even though your client and his or her employer is legitimate.
    1. Your client’s job must be a specialty occupation.
    This means your client’s job must require a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. To show this, you need to prove that not only does your client’s particular job require a degree to perform, but that similar jobs in similar companies in the same industry also require an advanced degree. This shows that the skills and knowledge needed to successfully carry out the duties of your client’s job requires an advanced degree.
    1. Your client must possess a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent.
    Unless your client has a very straightforward bachelor’s degree or higher from a US college or university, you will need to get your client’s credentials evaluated by an authorized foreign credentials evaluator. Some degrees are more complex than others because many countries have certifications and licenses that are actually degrees, even though the word degree is not in the title. Professional licenses like the Indian Chartered Accountancy license require the equivalence of the same post-secondary education required for a bachelor’s degree. However, Canadian Chartered Accountancy does not require education that equates to post-secondary education. Another example of a difficult education situation is the Indian three-year bachelor’s degree. While it has the same – if not greater – amount of classroom contact hours as the US four-year bachelor’s degree, you need to account for the extra year of education for CIS to consider the Indian three-year bachelor’s degree as equivalent to the US four-year degree. To do this, a credential evaluator with the authority to convert years of progressive work experience in your client’s field of employ into years of college credit must write an evaluation with the equivalency of three years of work experience to one year of college credit documented and accounted for to account for the missing fourth year.
    1. Your client’s degree must be an exact match for the job offer.
    Until less than a decade ago, an H1B candidate with a degree in a field related to their job title would get their visa approved without an RFE. Now we are seeing RFE’s for degrees that are not an exact match for the job offer. While employers will hire employees with degrees in related fields, CIS will not approve their visas. CIS requires your candidate have the specialized skills and knowledge required for their H1B job. While candidates with related degrees may possess these skills – particularly if they are hired for the job – your client needs to prove this to CIS with a degree match. If your client’s degree is not an exact match for his or her job offer, have a credential evaluator review your client’s education and employment history. An evaluation can be written converting years of progressive work experience into college credit in the major that matches your client’s job. Classroom contact hours in coursework in the matching field can also be evaluated and counted towards a major in that field.
    1. Your client’s degree must be specialized.
    Since the H1B visa is for specialized occupations, your candidate must have a degree that reflects having learned and mastered specialized skills and knowledge. A generalized degree – such as a liberal arts degree with no specific field of specialization – is not adequate to show a candidate possesses such knowledge. If your client has a generalized degree but was still hired for an H1B occupation, clearly his or her employer can see that your client has the specialized skills and knowledge necessary to excel at the job. Now you have to provide CIS with evidence that this is the case. Have a credential evaluator review your client’s transcripts and resume to see what conversions can be made to write an equivalency to a specialized degree that matches the H1B job offer.The H1B visa requirements are very detailed and specific, especially when it comes to your client’s education. H1B trends change as this visa becomes more and more sought after with higher demand for highly skilled workers in STEM industries that the US workforce can supply.   Before you submit, have a credential evaluator look over your client’s transcripts, educational documents, and work experience to see if an evaluation is needed, and if so, what must be done.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

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