answering an rfe

H1B Alert: Don't Submit the Right Evaluation for the Wrong Visa

  • Did they ask about the visa?
  • Did they ask about the job?
  • Do they work with H1B cases and their RFEs on a regular basis?
  • The right evaluation agency for you case, or your client or employee’s case is the one that asks about the visa and the job, and works regularly with H1B cases and H1B RFE cases. At TheDegreePeople, we follow CIS approval trends, and work regularly with H1B cases and their RFEs. We know what triggers common RFEs, and we know how to prevent them. For a free review of your case, or your client or employee’s case, visit http://ccifree.com/.]]>

    The Double RFE

    ccifree.com/ and let us help you overturn the Double Employment Issue RFE. At just a slightly higher cost of just one issue per letter, our experts can handle the entire RFE in one expert opinion letter that addresses both issues in this RFE. This will save you time, money, and peace of mind.]]>

    Overturn the Dreaded Level 1 Wage and Specialty Occupation H1B RFE

    It’s no secret that CIS approval trends, especially with regards to the much sought-after H1B visa, change from year to year. RFEs for petitions for FY-2018 have started arriving and this year, CIS is going after entry level wages for H1B jobs. Here’s the scoop: H1B visas are reserved for highly skilled foreign workers in specialty occupations. This means a candidate must hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher, or its equivalent to qualify, and the job must be specialized to the point of requiring a minimum of that degree or degree equivalency to perform its duties. Part of the petition is the employer submitting a Labor Conditions Application which indicates that the H1B employee will make prevailing wages for that job in that geographic location for companies of that size. Some of these jobs pay entry level wages. That’s where employers have been running into trouble this year. CIS has been consistent in issuing RFEs for candidates making entry level wages because there is question as to whether these entry level jobs are adequately specialized to meet H1B educational requirements. While the rationalization behind this is that many entry level jobs do not require a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent, many professions DO require this education to gain entry to the field. At TheDegreePeople.com, we work with RFEs and difficult cases on a regular basis and understand what CIS is really looking for in the evidence they request. To have us review your case at no charge and no obligation, please submit the following documents to [email protected] • LCA • Beneficiary’s resume and educational documents • Employer Support Letter • Detailed job description and duties • RFE We will get back o you in 48 hours or less with a full analysis and, if we can help you, the costs of this and how many to order.]]>

    Overturn an H1B Nightmare RFE in Three Steps

  • Read it.
  • Sit down with your team and read through the entire RFE carefully. Look at the documentation and evidence that you are being asked to provide. Don’t panic, you won’t have to provide the virtually impossible amount of evidence in the virtually impossible amount of time the RFE states.
    1. Put it down and go back to the original H1B requirements.
    This RFE will not tell you how to answer it. The second step is to put the RFE down and return to the initial H1B requirements. In looking at the original H1B requirements in light of the evidence and documentation being requested, you can get a sense of what underlying questions CIS is really trying to answer in requesting the evidence indicated. Answer those underlying questions and you won’t need to jump through the impossible amount of hoops the Nightmare seems to require. Remember, the candidate’s job must be a specialty occupation requiring a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent to perform. The candidate must hold that degree in the exact field of employ or its foreign equivalent. Your client’s employer must be economically viable and pay the H1B worker the prevailing wages for that job for a company of that size in that geographical location. The candidate and the employer must also have an employer-employee relationship in which the employer can hire, fire, promote, pay, supervise, and otherwise control the candidate’s work. Find out which of these requirements were not clearly met, and provide the evidence to fill in the gaps left open in the initial petition.
    1. Go to CCIFREE.COM for a free consultation on how to best proceed.
    Visit us for a free consultation on your education situation, or the situation of your employee or client. Oftentimes, what was missing in the original petition was a credential evaluation – or the RIGHT credential evaluation. If you or your employee or client has a degree from outside of the United States, incomplete college, or a degree in a generalized field or field that does not exactly match the H1B job, a credential evaluation is needed so CIS can clearly see the value of the education. Oftentimes, a credential evaluation agency will write an accurate evaluation, but not take the nuances of the H1B visa into account. If you’re wondering why you, or your employee or client got an RFE even though you submitted a credential evaluation, this may be your situation. Did the agency ask about the job or visa? These are two essential components of writing the RIGHT credential evaluation for the H1B visa. Are you staring down a Nightmare RFE? We can help. Simply go to ccifree.com and submit the candidate’s educational documents and a current, accurate resume and we will get back to you within 24 hours with a full pre-evaluation and analysis, and all of your options moving forward. About the Author Sheila Danzig Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director of 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.  ]]>

    H1B RFE? Whose fault was it?

    Sometimes CIS is to blame for the RFE As you well know, CIS is not perfect. The H1B petition could have been spotless and CIS will still issue an RFE. These RFEs are factually incorrect. They are frustrating, but they are easy because you already have all of the evidence, documentation, and analysis ready to file. Sometimes it’s the attorney’s fault While it is rare, an attorney will sometimes file a petition incorrectly. If this is the case, it’s typically not worth firing your attorney for this late in the process. Misfiling errors can be corrected. Sometimes the RFE is the fault of the candidate Sometimes H1B candidates will mistake the value of their degree. It’s not uncommon for a candidate to insist that a high school diploma is a college degree, or to provide mistranslated or poorly evaluated educational documents that trigger an RFE. Sometimes the degree isn’t from an accredited institution, and regardless of how good their education actually is, CIS will not accept a degree from an institution that is not accredited. If this is the case, it’s important to find out where the candidate’s mistake was made and provide accurate evidence in its place when answering the RFE. Sometimes the evaluator – or the evaluation – caused the RFE Credential evaluations for visa cases can get tricky in a hurry, and not every credential evaluator or agency is up for the job. International education is very specialized and nuanced, and each visa has different educational requirements, as well as requirements surrounding what constitutes an equivalency CIS will accept. On top of that, CIS approval trends regarding education change from year to year. For example, in the past, CIS would approve H1B petitions in which the candidate had a US bachelor’s degree or higher in a field related to their H1B job, whereas now they require an EXACT match. If your client has a three-year bachelor’s degree, CIS will no longer accept a classroom contact hour evaluation that breaks down the academic content by converting classroom contact hours into college credit hours. Now, a work experience conversion of three years of progressive work experience to one year of college credit in the field is required to account for the missing fourth year. The evaluator you need for the job follows CIS approval trends, understands the nuances of international education, and understands the difference between educational requirements for different visas. A perfectly good credential evaluator can write the wrong evaluation for your or your employee or client’s H1B case. Here’s a hint: When choosing the right credential evaluator, do they ask about the visa and the job? If the answer is no, then look elsewhere. These factors are vital to the right evaluation for the case. If you or your employee or client received an H1B RFE, let us provide a free pre-evaluation of the candidate’s education. Simply go to ccifree.com and submit educational documents, a current accurate resume, and indicate the job title and desired equivalency. We will get back to you within 24 hours with the pre-evaluation, a full analysis, and all of your options to successfully overturn your client’s RFE. About the Author Sheila Danzig 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.]]>

    RFE Solutions: Your RFE Won’t Help You Answer It!

  • The job must be a specialty occupation.
  • The candidate must hold a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent or higher in the field of this specialty occupation.
  • The candidate and the employer must have an employer-employee relationship.
  • The candidate must be paid prevailing wages and benefits for the job for companies of that size in that geographical location.
  • Which of these four requirements is lacking? For qualifications 3 and 4, you can provide the employee contract that shows the nature of the duties you or your employee or client will be performing and the requirements and codes of conduct of the work place. Provide paystubs and W2 information along with documentation about similar jobs for similar companies in that geographic location to show that you or your employee or client is receiving the prevailing wages and benefits. If the petition is lacking in the first qualification, you need to show that the job requires an advanced degree, and specialized skills and knowledge to perform. To meet this requirement, you can provide the advertisement for the job that includes minimum qualifications for the job. You should also provide ads for similar jobs in the same industry for companies of a similar size and scope. If this particular job has higher requirements than similar jobs because this situation uniquely requires specialized knowledge, include an expert opinion letter clearly explaining why this is the case. Requirement 2 has become trickier every year. In the past, CIS has approved the visas of candidates with degrees in fields related to their specialty occupation. Now, candidates must have a degree that is an exact match for their job. Before you get bogged down in the wording of your RFE, find out what the education situation is and what you can do about it to answer the RFE. Simply go to ccifree.com and submit a current resume and the candidate’s educational documents. Indicate the job and desired degree equivalency and specialization, and we will get back to you within 24 hours with a pre-evaluation and analysis of your options. If the degree is not an exact match for the specialty occupation, a credential evaluation that converts years of work experience in the field into college credit towards a US bachelor’s degree in that major is needed. Candidates with degrees from outside of the US also run into trouble with this requirement, particularly candidates with 3-year bachelor’s degrees from India. If you or your employee or client earned the degree from outside of the US, do not submit it without a credential evaluation. Transcripts must be translated and evaluated. These are two very different, and VERY specialized services that cannot be grouped into a one-stop shop. The value of a degree gets lost in translation, and sometimes there is no direct translation for a degree from abroad. Sometimes, degrees do not have the word “degree” in the title but are the functional equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree. Be sure this is a two-step process that first utilizes the services of a translation agency, and THEN utilizes the services of a credential evaluation agency. Before you get too far into answering the RFE, let us provide a pre-evaluation of the candidate’s education to help overturn an educational RFE. Simply go to ccifree.com and attach the candidate’s educational documents and a current resume, along with the job title and desired degree specialization. We will get back to you within 24 hours with a full analysis and all of your options. About the Author Sheila Danzig 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.]]>

    RFE? Surprise! The answer is not in the RFE

    1) The job must be a specialty occupation. USCIS defines specialty occupation as a job so complex as to require a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent to perform. This is because specialized skills and knowledge are necessary to perform the duties of the job correctly. To show that your job, or your employee or client’s job is a specialty occupation, you can provide the advertisement for the job that includes minimum qualifications for the job. You should also provide ads for similar jobs in the same industry for companies of a similar size and scope. If your job, or your employee or client’s job holds higher requirements than similar jobs because this particular situation requires specialized knowledge, include an expert opinion letter clearly explaining why this is the case. 2) You, or your employee or client must have a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalency. The H1B visa is for highly skilled workers to live in the United States and work jobs that require specialized skills and knowledge. CIS requires beneficiaries of the H1B visa to hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. That means if you have, or your employee or client has a degree from outside of the United States – PARTICULARLY if it is a three-year bachelor’s degree or a degree that doesn’t call itself a degree like the Indian Chartered Accountancy certification – you need to submit a credential evaluation alongside the transcripts that clearly show its US academic value. This can be difficult because educational systems vary from country to country. The number of years it takes to complete secondary and post-secondary education are different, and the academic content is different. A credential evaluator with specialized understanding of international education as well as visa education requirements and CIS trends is needed to write the evaluation you need, or your employee or client needs to answer the RFE. CIS allows beneficiaries to combine years of progressive work experience in their field of employ – meaning the work experience required them to take on more responsibility as time went on – to fill in missing years in a degree. Three years of progressive work experience in the field can be converted into the equivalent of one year of college credit in your client’s specialization. This conversion requires a credential evaluator with the authority to convert work experience into college credit, and back it up with the necessary evidence and analysis. 3) The degree must match the field of employ. Since your job, or your employee or client’s job is a specialty occupation, the education must be specialized to his or her field of employ. In recent years, CIS has required the degree specialization to be an EXACT match – whereas in the past they accepted education in a related field and employers regularly hire candidates with related degrees and direct work experience in the field. Of course, you need to answer the RFE with regards to CURRENT CIS approval trends, and that means your degree, or your employee or client’s degree specialization must match the job offer. If you or your employee or client has a generalized degree or a degree with a major that is not an exact match for the job, a credential evaluation that converts years of work experience in the field into college credit counting towards that specialization is in order. Additionally, a credential evaluator can take a close look at the course content of your degree, or your employee or client’s degree and count courses completed in the field of employ towards a degree with a major in that field. Talk to a credential evaluator with experience working with education RFEs and decide the best course of action to meet this requirement. 4) The beneficiary and employer must have an employer-employee relationship. Employer-employee relationships means that the employer has the ability to hire, fire, promote, pay, supervise, and otherwise control the work the beneficiary does as an employee. If these terms are not clearly met, CIS will issue an RFE. To show you or your employee or client meet this requirement, you can submit the employee manual or contract agreement to show CIS the nature of this relationship. 5) The employer must pay the beneficiary the prevailing wages and benefits for the job. The employer must pay the beneficiary the prevailing wages and benefits for the job, for companies of that size in that industry, and in that specific geographical location. To prove this, you need to provide evidence of what those prevailing wages and benefits are, as well as evidence that the employer will be meeting those standards. In addition, you must be able to show that the employer has the economic viability to do so without cutting resources from other employees or the company or organization itself. The economic viability of the beneficiary’s employer is key. To prove this, submit copies of the W-2 form, or pay stubs if the beneficiary is already employed in this position under a different visa status. You may also have to provide quarterly reports for the employer, tax information, or other evidence that shows that the beneficiary’s employer is able to provide prevailing wages and benefits. Many RFEs have difficult wording and make virtually impossible evidence requests – most notably the Nightmare RFE. An RFE does not have the roadmap to successfully answer it contained within it. Read over the RFE, then return to the basics of what requirements need to be met for the H1B visa. About the Author Sheila Danzig 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.]]>

    5 Common H-1B RFEs and Their Solutions

  • The Job is not Clearly a Specialty Occupation
  • While this RFE is primarily related to the nature of the job, it is also an EDUCATION related RFE. The question is about what level of education is needed to meet the MINIMUM qualifications to perform this job. To prove that your job, or your employee or client’s job meets CIS requirements for being a “specialty occupation,” provide the ad for the job that states it minimum requirements. You should also provide ads for similar jobs in the same industry to show that it is a general requirement for employees holding this position to have a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. If your job, or your employee or client’s job has specialized requirements unique to the company or organization, provide an expert opinion letter stating why specialized knowledge and skills are needed for your particular job, or your employee or client’s particular job but not in similar jobs in the same industry. Remember, when in doubt, go back to the original H-1B requirements and work from there.
    1. Right Degree, Wrong Specialization or No Specialization
    Do your or does your employee or client have a US bachelor’s degree? This might not be enough. CIS requires H-1B visa holders to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in the major that exactly matches their field of employment. In the not-too-distant past, CIS would approve visas of candidates with degrees in related fields, but now these same petitions are met with RFEs at best. Since specialty occupations require specialized knowledge unique to the field, candidates with related majors or generalized degrees are not making the CIS educational cut. However, employers don’t just take on new hires without the knowledge and skills necessary to do the job. If you or your employee or client has the right skills and knowledge through classes outside of their major, as well as direct work experience in the field, you need to find a credential evaluator with the authority to convert years of work experience in the field into college credit that count towards the correct major specialization.
    1. Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree
    An unfortunately common RFE arrives when a candidate has a three-year bachelor’s degree, particularly one from India. While the Indian three-year bachelor’s degree tends to have at least the same number of classroom contact hours as the four-year US bachelor’s degree, CIS still requires candidates to account for that missing fourth year. Simply submitting a three-year transcript without an evaluation or attempting to rely on the academic content vs. academic duration requirement will almost certainly trigger an RFE. Instead, talk with a credential evaluator with the authority to convert years of work experience into college credit to account for the missing fourth year.
    1. Degree has an Unclear US Equivalency
    Some advanced degrees do not have a clear US equivalency. For example, the job that gets the most RFE’s is Computer Systems Analysis. This is because this degree is EXTREMELY rare, and with current educational trends candidates must hold a degree in that very rare specialization to meet CIS trends. Another example of this is the Indian Chartered Accountancy certification. With the Canadian Chartered Accountancy certification and the US CPA are not bachelor’s degree equivalencies, the Indian Chartered Accountancy certification requires the same steps as a bachelor’s degree in accounting to qualify to take the test to become certified. This makes the Indian Chartered Accountancy the functional equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree in accounting. When it comes to rare degrees or degrees without an intuitive equivalency, holding CIS’s hand and walking them through the steps of education to determine its functional equivalency is required to avoid an RFE in the first place or to answer the one that has arrived. This requires a detailed credential evaluation from a credential evaluation agency with specialized understanding of foreign and international education, as well as knowledge of where one can earn rare degree specializations in the United States.
    1. The Right Evaluation for the Wrong Visa
    Regulations surrounding educational equivalencies vary greatly from visa to visa. Some credential evaluation agencies offer cookie-cutter evaluations based on large databases without looking at each situation on a case-by-case basis. Everyone’s path through education is unique – from course content to work experience – AND every visa has different equivalency frameworks. For example, for the H-1B visa, CIS permits candidates to combine education from multiple sources, as well as years of progressive work experience to reach a US bachelor’s degree equivalency. This is not the case for the EB2 visa where the bachelor’s degree must be a single source. Therefore, it is common for candidates to end up with the right equivalency for the wrong visa. Before you hire a credential evaluator, make sure they specifically ask about your visa or your employee or client’s visa. Many credible evaluation agencies will write an accurate evaluation that does not meet CIS requirements for your visa or your employee or client’s visa. This does NOT mean your or your employee or client’s education and work experience cannot meet H-1B requirements. The evaluation must lend itself to the visa requirements, and client’s job offer. It must take into account the field of employ, the degree and specialization required, and the steps CIS allows for you, or your employee or client to get there. When you receive an RFE, sit down with your team, read it over, and understand exactly what it is asking of you. The roadmap to your success, however, is NOT necessarily in the wording of the RFE. Your success lies within knowing CIS educational requirements for the visa, and in understanding CIS approval trends. The right credential evaluation for the right visa is your key to answering an education RFE. About the Author Sheila Danzig 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.      ]]>

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