H1B filing season is right around the corner, and the trend of increasing rates of RFEs is expected to continue. That means when you organize your petition, or your employee or client’s petition to file, sidestepping any RFEs that may be thrown your way must be a priority.
At TheDegreePeople, we help our clients answer H1B RFEs every year. Sometimes you can’t control whether or not you or your employee or client receives an RFE because CIS makes mistakes. However, there are a handful of common RFEs that can and should be avoided. Based on recent years, here are two of the most common RFEs that can be easily avoided by anticipating the evidence CIS requires in the initial filing.
Degree does not match the job title
We 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 degree
At 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 Author
Sheila 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.
This article was written by Rebecca Little