This year, the H-1B lottery held two rounds to fill all 85,000 visa slots, regular and advanced degree caps. That means those selected in round two are knee-deep in RFE season. The Double RFE, which takes issue with both the occupation and the wage level is common amongst complex RFEs and is based on two incorrect assumptions on part of USCIS:
- If a position is set at wage level one, that means it is entry-level.
- If a position is entry-level, it does not meet specialty occupation requirements.
First, wage levels are set based on a multitude of factors, including work experience. Recent college graduates need additional supervision and on-the-job training, necessitating a lower starting wage. This does not mean the job is an entry-level position, or that the wage level is set incorrectly.
Second, in most cases, if the job is entry level, it still normally requires a US bachelor’s degree or higher as a minimum educational requirement to be hired to the position. In recent years, if the occupation entry in the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook states anything but the position always requires a US bachelor’s degree or higher as a minimum education requirement, USCIS is likely to issue an RFE.
These issues often go hand-in-hand because if the wage level is set at wage level one, USCIS assumes the position is entry level, and then specialty occupation issues arise, or USCIS assumes the wage level is set incorrectly. This creates a feedback loop that quickly escalates into a complex RFE.
Luckily, the answer is not as complex as the RFE itself. First, you will need to provide the ad for the job and ads for the same job in similar companies showing the advanced degree minimum requirement. Second, provide a detailed breakdown of the duties and responsibilities of the job highlighting the skills and knowledge acquired specifically through completion of a bachelor’s degree or higher program in the field of the H-1B job. Third, provide an analysis of the factors that went into setting the wage level as it is. Finally, include an expert opinion letter that addresses both wage level and specialty occupation issues written by an expert in the field of the H-1B job. This expert must have at least ten years of experience working in the field of the H-1B job and have held positions of authority in which they made hiring decisions regarding the position in question. This letter will be based on the information you have provided.
At CCI TheDegreePeople.com we work with experts in every H-1B field whose credentials USCIS will accept as lending weight to their opinion. If you have received a Double RFE or another complex RFE, get our experts in your corner.
For a free review of your case visit www.ccifree.com. We will respond in 4 hours or less.
Sheila Danzig is the director of CCI TheDegreePeople.com. Sheila specializes in overturning RFEs and Denials for work visas.