Specialty occupation issues are likely to be a common RFE trigger again this H-1B filing season.  These issues arise when the beneficiary’s job does not ALWAYS require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or higher according to its entry in the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.  Even if the position normally requires this educational baseline USCIS has consistently been adjudicating the exception as the norm. 

If you, or if your employee or client has one such occupation, there are three additional ways you can prove the specialty occupation requirement is met.  It requires additional evidence and documentation.

  1. A minimum degree requirement is required in parallel positions in similar organizations within the industry.
  2. The employer requires a degree minimum for this position as evidenced by past hiring practices.
  3. This position is uniquely complex and specialized as to require the skills associated with the completion of an advanced degree to perform.

To support these criteria, you will need to provide the ad for the job showing the advanced degree minimum requirement and ads for the same position at similar organizations within the industry showing the advanced degree minimum requirement.  Provide documentation of past hiring practices that show past employees hired to this position had obtained an advanced degree along with the ad for the job in the past proving this has historically been a minimum educational requirement for the position.  Provide a detailed breakdown of the duties and responsibilities of the H-1B job highlighting how skills and knowledge acquired through completing an advanced degree program directly apply.  Finally, you will need to include an expert opinion letter to analyze the evidence and documentation you provide and validate your case.

However, USCIS will not accept just any expert’s opinion as justification for visa approval.  For example, if the expert has years of experience teaching in the field of the H-1B job, but little to no actual work experience in the field, and no experience in positions of leadership or making hiring decisions, USCIS will not accept their opinion letter. 

The RIGHT expert has at least a decade of experience working directly in the field of the H-1B job including holding positions of leadership.  They should have experience making hiring decisions regarding the H-1B position in question and have an understanding of the educational background necessary to correctly perform the job.  The more details you provide the expert the better the opinion letter will be.

At CCI TheDegreePeople.com we work with RIGHT experts in all H-1B fields with experience writing expert opinion letters for H-1B visa petitions.  Before you file, include an expert opinion letter to make sure you have your specialty occupation requirement bases covered.

For a free review of your case visit www.ccifree.com.  We will respond in 4 hours or less.

Sheila Danzig

Sheila Danzig is the director of CCI TheDegreePeople.com.  Sheila specializes in overturning RFEs and Denials for work visas.

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