RFE on H1b

It’s Easier to Prevent an RFE than to Overturn One

st, 2016. That means CIS does not have to issue an RFE to get the information they need out of you to make an informed decision. Preventing an RFE is much easier than answering one.An RFE is a tool CIS uses to make the right decision about your petition. When they cannot make a decision based on the evidence you provided, they request more. While this is not the end of the world, and can actually be utilized as an opportunity to strengthen your case, an RFE is a red flag. A red flag is another tool CIS uses to streamline the massive amount of work they have to do to cut 233,000 petitions into 65,000 Visas. If you receive an RFE, that means a glaring omission of evidence has drawn CIS’s close attention to your petition, and it will now be picked apart. Minor errors that would have otherwise gone unnoticed will come to light.At the same time, answering an RFE is not necessarily a straight-forward process. To successfully answer an RFE, you need to sit down with your lawyer, your employer, and your evaluator to see exactly what is being asked of you and how to go about answering it. Some RFE’s are realistically impossible to answer. The “Nightmare” RFE is one of these, and we’ve been seeing more of them every year. While these can be answered, it requires strategy that only an evaluation agency with international education and federal case law experts on hand to work on your case. At CCI, we have been able to get around 95% of all of the Nightmare RFE’s we work on overturned, but these RFE’s cause a lot of unnecessary stress to H1B candidates and can be easily avoided.How can you avoid an RFE in the first place?

  1. Triple-check your answers on all of your documents and forms for consistency. Inconsistent answers – even if they are small mistakes – can trigger an RFE.
  1. Prove that your H1B job is a specialty occupation requiring a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalence or higher. You can do this by showing the ad for your job, documentation that similar jobs for similar companies require a bachelor’s degree or higher, and with an expert letter.
  1. Clearly show that your degree is a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. If your degree is from outside of the US, you will need to have your education evaluated by an authorized credential evaluation agency. If you have a three-year degree, you will need to find an agency with the authority and expertise to convert classroom contact hours and years of work experience into college credit hours to account for the missing fourth year.
  1. Your degree must be specialized. This means if you have a liberal arts degree, or a generalized degree, CIS will not accept this as proof that you actually possess the specialized skills and knowledge necessary to be qualified for your H1B job. If you have a generalized degree, you need to talk to a credential evaluation agency that will take a close look at your course content and your work experience, and make the proper conversions to college credit hours to show equivalence to a specialized degree.
  1. Your degree must EXACTLY fit your job offer. This means that even though your employer hired you because your degree in a related field and your experience working in the field was enough to prove to them you have the specialized skills and experience necessary to be successful in your new job, CIS needs more. If your degree is not an EXACT fit for your job, you need a credential evaluation from an evaluator who can take a close look at the course content of your degree and make the necessary conversions, and who can also convert your years of work experience in the field into college credit to show equivalency to the exact degree CIS requires you to have.
Don’t wait for the opportunity to overturn an RFE. Remember, an RFE is a big red flag waving high over your petition. The best way to address an RFE is to avoid it. Don’t give CIS an excuse to nit pick your petition. Tell them everything they need to know to make an informed decision on your petition the first time.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. Mention that you saw this in the ILW article and get 72 hour rush service at no charge.]]>

H1b Question – Which job offer has the most RFEs in 2015?

Why is this? In their educational requirements policy, the USCIS states, “A generalized degree, absent specialized experience, is insufficient” to prove an H1b candidate is educationally qualified for their specialty occupation. For example, the USCIS cites, “Since there must be a close corollary between the required specialized studies and the position, the requirement of a degree of generalized title, such as business administration or liberal arts, without further specification, does not establish eligibility.”When one’s education does not work standing alone, an evaluator must include the candidate’s work experience to meet H1b requirements.  At the same time, the USCIS requires a candidate’s degree to specifically match their specialty occupation.  While employers will hire those with a degree in a field related to their job, the USCIS requires an exact match.  Which degree fits Computer Systems Analyst?Master of Computer Analysis is the ONLY standard degree we have seen that ​has​ not triggered​ an RFE for that job offer​. Some other degrees has “slid by” but we have seen RFEs for all of them.​A US Bachelor’s of Computer Science Engineering or its equivalent even receives an RFE for being a “generalized” degree.  A bachelor’s degree in Computer Sciences Analysis is an extremely rare degree in the United States, available only at colleges and universities with self-designed degrees. However with work experience you can have that equivalence.​However, most candidates don’t have a Computer Sciences Analysis self-designed degree from a US school.  A Bachelor’s of Computer Analysis sh​ould be accepted by the USCIS if it is a four-year degree, however​ the BCA from India is a three-year degree.The solution?  An evaluator can add your client’s work experience to his or her education to show an ​equivalence to a US Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Sciences Analysis. Although rare this degree does exist, and more importantly it​ is accepted by the USCIS as fulfilling the requirements for a Computer Systems Analyst.While RFE’s are not the end of the world and can be addressed, they are also seen as red flags.  An RFE for an​ issue like education can draw attention to the small details of your client’s petition, which can lead to even bigger issues.  It is always better to prevent an RFE in the first place than to overturn one later.About the author Sheila Danzig  ​Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director​ of CCI TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credential Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult cases, RFEs, Denials or NOIDS, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

Who is to Blame for Your RFE?

When is it the attorney’s fault?Very rarely, an attorney will file a PERM incorrectly. Generally, however, the attorney error occurs when the candidate’s education is not reviewed by an education specialist before the PERM is filed. In this case, the candidate’s account of the education is incorrect or does not meet the CIS definition of a degree for that particular Visa. Unless this is the case, don’t file your attorney over an RFE.When is it the evaluator’s fault and how can it be the fault of the evaluation but NOT the person who wrote it?There are situations when the RFE is clearly the evaluator’s fault because the evaluation was incorrect. For example, when a non-accredited PGD is listed as accredited, CIS jumps on that inaccuracy to issue an RFE.However, every evaluation is different, and evaluations for different Visas must be written very differently. When an evaluator writes an evaluation for any particular visa, he or she must know both the Visa regulations AND current CIS trends. The evaluator may have done the job properly but the equivalence does not work for the particular Visa. For example, someone with a four-year degree in electrical engineering can have an evaluation written perfectly showing equivalence for a US bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and then receive an RFE because his or her job is in the field of computer software analysis. This sort of mismatch triggered an onslaught of RFE’s this year. The evaluator did a good job, but the evaluation was not correct for the purposes of the Visa. In this case, you may have likely found the write evaluator, he or she just wrote the wrong evaluation correctly. To avoid this, make sure you order your evaluation from an agency that knows education regulations for each Visa. If you advise an evaluation agency that you need an evaluation for an H1B visa and they don’t ask about the job offer, find a new agency. The degree must precisely fit the field of employ for this Visa and the evaluator needs to know this information so they can evaluate an equivalency to the proper degree. If you are not asked about the job offer, the agency simply does not understand what is required of H1B Visa candidates.If you have already paid an evaluator and a mistake was made, I suggest you go back to that evaluator to try to address your RFE. However, if the evaluation agency did not make sure that the evaluation was written for the particular Visa it was ordered for, that may just be how they operate. They may just be writing standard evaluations and not be authorized to make the conversions necessary to prove equivalence between fields or across educational system structures. You cannot expect an agency to do something they don’t claim to do. The evaluation agency you want is one that will look at the education, as well as the visa requirements and current CIS trends.When is it CIS’s fault?Government bureaucracies make mistakes and some RFE’s are simply factually incorrect. Everything in a petition could be done correctly and you can still receive an RFE. Often when CIS is at fault, the RFE will state that an accredited university is not accredited, or that a qualified evaluator is not qualified. While these RFE’s are frustrating, they are also easy fixes. With the help of your evaluator, you can easily provide these facts and receive an approval.When is it the Candidate’s Fault?Candidates make mistakes. They have been known to insist that their high school documents are college level. They have also been known to provide poorly translated documents, or even fraudulently translated documents. Often but not always, a good evaluator can pick up on these problems before starting in on the evaluation, but not all evaluation agencies will review a candidate’s case before accepting payment and writing it. To be sure that no problems arise further down the road that can trigger an RFE, we always review all of the documents before accepting a credential evaluation order. Before we have seen all of the education documents, a resume, and the RFE or Denial if one has been issued, we have no way to discuss any given candidate’s case. We want to discover any issues in the documents right away in order to eliminate the vast majority of client confusion and misinformation.When is it no one’s fault?Sometimes, it really is no one’s fault. CIS trends change. As we have seen especially in the past seven or so years, CIS trends can change very quickly. We can only, at best, know what they generally do and what they have done. CIS can be a wildcard, and for that reason we can never guarantee what they are going to do. When this happens, all you can do is carefully read the RFE, understand what is being asked of whom and who can provide the requested evidence, and do your best.Can we draw a usable conclusion?Yes. If you have a competent attorney, work with him or her to resolve the RFE. If you used an evaluation agency before receiving an RFE, go back to them. Next time, make sure you are working with an agency that reviews the education and Visa requirements before you order. If that is not their policy, find a new agency. If that is their policy, hear them out. As much as I would like your business, an RFE is really not a reason to jump ship if an evaluation agency’s overall work has been good. Few agencies have passed through the RFE gauntlet this year unscathed, and many of these RFE’s are not the fault of the agency. Or the fault of the attorney. If you receive an RFE, the best solution is to remain calm and deal with it as best you can.About the AuthorSheila 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. Mention that you saw this in the ILW article and get 72 hour rush service at no charge.]]>

More H1B Visa Petitions Receive an RFE Today than Ever

Not even six years ago only 4% of H1B applications received an RFE. Today, over one in every four petitions are met with an RFE. These visas are in higher demand than ever before and rates of RFEs are higher than ever as well. One of the main reasons for this spike is that educational standards for H1B status have tightened.

H1B visa status is for foreign workers holding specialty occupations. The term specialty occupation used be understood by USCIS requirements as a job that requires a bachelor’s degree or other degree or certification or its equivalent in a related field. Now the USCIS is requiring petitioners’ degree to EXACTLY match the field.

If you receive in RFE regarding this and your degree does not exactly match the field of your specialty occupation, don’t panic! Certain credential evaluation agencies can covert work experience in your occupation’s field into college credit hours because they have the authority to do so. Before you order an evaluation to address this RFE by converting work experience, your want to make ABSOLUTELY sure the agency you are going through has the authority to do this. You only get one shot at responding to an RFE.

CCI only has professors with this authority conduct our evaluations. You can be sure the professor writing your evaluation has the ability to convert your work experience into classroom hours and bridge the gap between your degree in a related field and the field of your job.

Go to cciFree.com for a free review of your case if you have received an RFE for an education situation.


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