Wage Level and Specialty Occupation RFEs: Who Dropped the Ball?

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Every year, H1B candidates face a higher chance of receiving an RFE instead of an outright visa approval. Every year CIS approval trends change and so do their accompanying RFEs.

In the past, education issues have been central to CIS approval trends. This year, the big CIS RFE trend when it comes to H1B petitions are wage level and specialty occupation issues. When CIS issues an RFE, it means that CIS doesn’t have enough evidence and documentation to make an informed decision about whether or not the situation meets CIS requirements. The first step to answering an RFE is to figure out where evidence is lacking – if evidence is indeed lacking – and who’s responsibility it is to provide it.

Sometimes it’s the employer’s fault.If the job indicated by the employer on the LCA does not match the position on the H1B petition, or if the job indicated on the LCA is in the “other” category, or doesn’t match the duties of the actual position, or if the wage level set does not clearly meet the prevailing wage for the job, that means the employer is at fault. Consistent answers across forms is essential. If the job in question differs from the duties and responsibilities, or differs from the wage level indicated in the entry for the position in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the petition needs to clearly explain how these differences fit within the requirements of H1B visa status.

Sometimes it’s the beneficiary’s fault.Sometimes beneficiaries don’t actually have the correct degree for the H1B job. Sometimes mistranslated educational documents, diplomas that are mistaken for degrees, and other issues that arise my virtue of hiring across cultures and educational structures hinder the approval process.

Sometimes it’s the evaluator’s fault.If you or your employee or client has education from outside of the United States or a degree that is not an exact match for the H1B job, a credential evaluation is needed to fill in the gaps with a close evaluation of the course content and work experience with regards to the job in question, and specific H1B eligibility requirements. If the credential evaluator relied on online databases like EDGE to write the evaluation, or if the credential evaluator did not ask about the job or the visa, chances are the evaluation did not address all of the questions CIS must answer to approve the visa.

Sometimes it’s no one’s fault. CIS approval trends change every year, which makes it difficult to predict what they will hone in on next. Sometimes mistakes are made on the bureaucratic end and you receive an RFE for evidence clearly provided in the initial H1B petition. If this is the case, you still have to answer it.

It’s important to note that finding out who dropped the ball doesn’t have to be about pointing fingers or condemning a member of the H1B team. The key here is to find out how to solve the problem of the RFE and get it overturned.

At TheDegreePeople we work with difficult RFEs every year, and we always find creative solutions to even the most complex and convoluted RFEs. Let us help you. For a free review of your case, or your employee or client’s case, visit ccifree.com.. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.

This article was written by Rebecca Little

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