EB2 RFE

Avoid that EB2 RFE: Sidestep Education Traps

  • Mismatched Education
  • If the candidate’s degree is in a field that is not an exact fit for the job offer on the PERM, you can expect an RFE at best. This is a major EB2 education trap because employers will hire candidates with degrees in related fields and work experience in the field, but CIS will not approve their visas. If this is your situation, or your employee or client’s situation, you will need a very detailed and specific credential evaluation to write the US academic equivalency of the right degree in the right specialization. CIS has very strict requirements about how you can meet these equivalency requirements when it comes to EB2. Talk to a credential evaluator to see if you can make this equivalency work with your, or your employee or client’s education and work experience. The answer may be no. If this is the case, don’t be tempted to pull one over on CIS. This will not work.
    1. Bachelor’s Degree Equivalency is not a Single Source
    EB2 education requirements state that to qualify a candidate must hold a US bachelor’s degree FOLLOWED BY at least five years of progressive work experience in the field, OR a US Master’s degree or higher in the field. If you or your employee or client has a bachelor’s degree from outside of the United States, or a US degree in the wrong field, you will need an equivalency that is a SINGLE SOURCE. CIS accepts three years of progressive work experience in the field as the equivalent of one year of US college credit towards a degree in that specialization. Likewise, following having earned a bachelor’s degree, CIS counts fives years of progressive work experience in your client’s field of employ as the equivalent of a US Master’s degree in the field provided that a bachelor’s degree was a minimum requirement for the job itself. This gets tricky real fast. We always recommend taking your or your employee or client’s education and a current, accurate resume to a credential evaluation agency that works regularly with EB2 visas and their RFEs, and that also works with college professors with the authority to grant college credit for work experience. Your will need to have the work experience necessary to provide a SINGLE SOURCE bachelor’s degree equivalency. This requirement is complex and requires expertise to determine whether you or your employee or client can qualify, and to provide the evidence, analysis, and documentation necessary to explain this to CIS in the petition.
    1. Poorly Translated Documents
    Candidates fall into EB2 education traps when they provide mistranslated or misevaluated documents. Some degrees simply don’t translate into English and retain their academic value. Some translation agencies have begun to provide evaluation services that are attractive to candidates wanting to save time and money. However, evaluation is a completely different, highly specialized service because of the complex nature of foreign academic differentiations and the fact that degrees with the same name hold different academic values between countries. Some degrees with different names hold the same equivalency. For example, Indian Chartered Accountancy is the foreign equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree in Accounting while the Canadian Chartered Accountancy and US CPA are not the equivalent of that advanced degree. This sort of problem comes up when academic value gets lost in translation, or when a translator takes credential evaluation liberties without the knowledge to assure accuracy. To sidestep this EB2 education trap, if your or your employee or client’s educational documents need to be translated and evaluated, make this a two-step process. Do NOT compromise on this. You would never take credentials to an evaluation agency for translation! Get them translated into English first, then take them to a credential evaluation agency. Agencies that work regularly with EB2 visas can identify common translation errors and make academic value judgments accordingly. To avoid these EB2 education traps, simply visit ccifree.com and attach all educational documents and a current, accurate resume, along with the job title. We will get back to you within 24 hours with a pre-evaluation of your case, or your employee or client’s case, and a full analysis of all of your options. 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, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    2017 EB2 Education Trends You Need to Know About

    The Degree must EXACTLY fit the job title on the PERM One common mistake in EB2 filing occurs when a candidate’s education does not exactly match the job title on the PERM. In the past, CIS has allowed candidates with degrees in fields related to their job to have their visas approved, but educational standards have tightened. This means if you have, or if your employee or client has a degree in a field that doesn’t exactly fit the field of employ, you cannot simply file as is. EB2 occupations are highly specialized, and you need to clearly show CIS that you have, or your employee or client has the precise skills and knowledge necessary to excel at the job. This means having education specialized to the profession. If this is you situation, or your employee or client’s situation, have a credential evaluator with experience working with EB2 petitions review the education and work experience. With the proper conversions, documentation, and citations, you may be able to get the evaluation needed to account for the proper degree specialization. The Bachelor’s Degree must be a SINGLE SOURCE If the bachelor’s or master’s degree is not an exact match for the job title on the PERM, or if you or your employee or client has a three-year bachelor’s degree, or anything other than a straightforward US education that fits the field of employ, DO NOT file without a credential evaluation. The purpose of this is to explain that the candidate holds the educational value equivalency of the education required by CIS to meet EB2 eligibility requirements. However, this leads into another common problem EB2 candidates face: the bachelor’s degree must be a SINGLE SOURCE. Unlike other visas, you cannot combine work experience and college credit to make the bachelor’s degree or master’s degree equivalency in the correct specialization. However, CIS does accept a work experience conversion of ONLY years of work experience in the field into enough years of college credit to meet CIS requirements for bachelor’s degree equivalency. Talk to a credential evaluator with the authority to convert years of work experience into college credit to see if you have, or your employee or client has the background necessary for this solution. EB2 processing time is years shorter than the time it takes to process EB3 petitions. For this reason, candidates are tempted to try to meet EB2 requirements even if they do not. DO NOT BE TEMPTED BY THIS. It is a waste of time. However, if the EB2 educational requirements can be met, definitely take advantage of this. Before you file, have a credential evaluator with extensive experience working with EB2 cases and EB2 RFEs review your case, or your employee or client’s case and see if you can clearly meet the requirements for this visa. If the education and work experiences fit, congratulations! Go for it. 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, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.  ]]>

    The Answer to Your EB2 RFE is NOT in the RFE!

    Do you, or does your employee or client meet the educational criteria of the visa? First and foremost, make sure that the beneficiary’s education meets the educational criteria for the particular visa preference classification. For example, and EB2 visa requires beneficiaries to hold a US Master’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent, or a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent FOLLOWED BY five years of progressive work experience in the field. If you or your employee or client does not meet these requirements, or cannot meet them with a detailed credential evaluation, you are petitioning for the wrong visa. However, many candidates who do not immediately meet these criteria actually do with the proper credential evaluation. This brings us to the second educational requirement for I-140 visas: The Bachelor’s Degree must be a single source. This means, unlike other visas such as the H1B, your client cannot combine work experience with years of college credit to write a bachelor’s degree equivalency. It must be a single source. This can become troublesome if you or your employee or client holds a three-year bachelor’s degree from a country outside of the United States because that missing fourth year is going to be a problem. However, years of progressive work experience in the field can in many cases be evaluated to be the equivalency of a US Master’s degree in the field, accompanied by the proper evidentiary support, documentations, and citations. The Education and Job Must Meet Visa Criteria It is tempting for candidates with EB3 qualified education to try for EB2 preference. This is because the wait time for visas being processed is years shorter for EB2 candidates than for those of EB3 education. Do NOT be tempted into petitioning for a visa that is not right for your client. EB2 candidates must hold a US Master’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent, OR a US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent FOLLOWED BY five years of progressive work experience in the field. These requirements are extremely specific, but also very clearly spelled out. If you are unsure about your client’s education, talk to a credential evaluator who often works with I-140 cases and their RFEs. In the same way, some jobs simply don’t meet the specialization requirements of EB2 or EB1. These visas require highly specialized jobs with advanced degrees and work experience necessary to perform. If you or your client or employee does not hold a job that fits these requirements, you may be chasing the wrong visa. USCIS defines progressive work experience in the field as “demonstrated by advancing levels of responsibility and knowledge in the specialty.” This means that the candidate must have clearly learned skills and knowledge essential to the industry through this work experience, and instead of passing a test or getting a grade, this progress is evidenced through promotions and increased responsibility. Progressive work experience comes in handy candidates don’t have the number of years necessary in their foreign bachelor’s degree to make a single source US equivalence, and also when they run into the next RFE-triggering problem. The Degree MUST Match the Job Offer If your education, or your employee or client’s education doesn’t match the job offer on the PERM, you will receive an RFE. This is because candidates need to have the specialized skills and knowledge necessary to perform their job, and a degree in a different field does not assure CIS that they meet minimum requirements to perform their job. Employers will often hire employees with degrees in related fields that are not an exact match because they know there is enough information overlap, but CIS will question their qualifications with an RFE. If your degree, or your employee or client’s degree does not match the job offer, progressive work experience in the field can be converted into the necessary degree specialization. For example, say you or your employee or client has a job in computer sciences but a Master’s degree in engineering. The beneficiary also has five years of progressive work experience in the field of computer sciences. A credential evaluator with the authority to make this conversion can write the equivalent of five years of POST-BACHELOR’S DEGREE work experience in the field of computer sciences to a US Master’s degree in computer sciences. If you or your employee or client received an RFE, read it over carefully, but don’t get lost in it. Instead, sit down with your team and understand which of the ORIGINAL VISA CRITERIA are in question. Find out what evidence you need to provide to meet the ORIGINAL VISA CRITERIA that are in question and submit that documentation in your answer. The roadmap to answering the RFE is NOT in the RFE, so look to the original visa criteria and make sure that you’re not leaving any open gaps or failing to meet any requirements. 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.    ]]>

    Avoid an EB2 RFE Before You Have to Respond to One

    Why you do NOT want that RFE Aside from taking more time and money to address an RFE, an RFE is also a big red flag on the petition. When you get an RFE for a glaring error, it draws attention to the small mistakes that would have flown under the radar, and the more holes in your petition CIS finds, the more complicated your RFE will be to respond to. If you receive an RFE, don’t panic! Receiving an RFE can be transformed into an opportunity to strengthen your case, or the case of your client or employee. However, the best way to address an RFE is to avoid it in the first place. An RFE is by no means a rare occurrence. In fact, we see more and more RFEs every single year. At TheDegreePeople, we help clients with education RFEs, which are extremely common for the EB2 classification because CIS trends change with regards to educational requirements, especially from the prevalence of work visas in STEM industry companies, and also because equivalency requirements differ from other work visas. The first mistake petitioner commonly make is that the degree must be an EXACT match for the job offer on the PERM. In most cases, employers will hire employees with degrees in related fields because there is enough educational overlap that they can be sure the employee has the specialized skills and knowledge necessary to carry out the duties of their job. This is especially the case when the employee has years of work experience in the field alongside a degree in a related field. However, CIS disagrees. If the degree is not an exact match for the job offer on the PERM, you, or your employee or client will receive an RFE. To address this issue, you or your employee or client needs to have their education and work experience reviewed to write the equivalency of the necessary degree in the appropriate field, and submit that to CIS. The second mistake – which can also be made with regards to the equivalency in the first mistake – is that the petitioner’s bachelor’s degree must be a SINGLE source. This is particularly a problem when a petitioner needs a credential evaluation to write the equivalency for a degree in the exact field of employ, or if the petitioner holds a degree from a country with a three-year bachelor’s degree track. Other visas allow for work experience and different education sources to be combined to write the equivalency to the appropriate bachelor’s degree. This is not the case with EB2. The way we handle this situation is to convert years of progressive work experience into a bachelor’s degree equivalency or a master’s degree equivalency, and then cite federal case law, graduate school admissions requirements for programs in the client’s field, and provide other necessary documentation to fortify this equivalency. If you, or your employee or client receives an EB2 RFE, talk to a credential evaluation agency with extensive experience working with specific visas, and international education experts on hand. If you call and the agency does not ask about the particular job or visa, look elsewhere. While they may be able to write an accurate equivalency, they will not be able to write the accurate equivalency that you or your employee or client needs to fulfill the unique requirements of the EB2 visa. If you have yet to file, make sure your petition, or your employee or client’s petition does not fall into one of these common EB2 education traps. Don’t give CIS an excuse to issue an RFE. Get it right the first time. 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.  ]]>

    Five Questions to Ask to Find the Right Credential Evaluator

  • Are they easy to work with?
  • What does this look like? When you call, she answers. When you text or email, she responds promptly. When you have a question, it gets answered to your satisfaction the first time. You feel comfortable talking to him and asking any question you may have without fear of judgment. Being easy to work with also means the evaluator is affordable and offers rush delivery options to meet your needs and the needs of your employee or client. An evaluator who makes it easy for you to work with them wants to work with you and prioritizes customer service.
    1. Did they offer a free review of your case, or your employee or client’s case?
    Only work with evaluators who will review your client’s education and consult with you on how to best proceed before asking for payment. An evaluator cannot know what services to provide without first reviewing your case, or your employee or client’s cases. Particularly when it comes to EB2 visa eligibility, an evaluator needs to take a close look at your education and work experience, or your employee or client’s education and work experience to determine if the strict PERM educational requirements for this visa can actually be met.
    1. Do they work with RFEs, Denials, and NOIDs often?
    Evaluators who work with difficult cases on a regular basis understand what works and what does not work in getting these difficult cases approved. They have insight into what triggers an RFE, Denial, or NOID, and they understand what tends to work when addressing them, even when the pathway to approval is not clear. Evaluators who work with these kinds of cases on a regular basis can understand what questions CIS is looking to have answered in the documentation they ask you or your employee or client to provide. They also have deeper insight into CIS approval trends, which change with every year.
    1. Did they ask about your visa, or your employee or client’s visa?
    Educational requirements vary from visa to visa, and what kinds of educational equivalencies and combinations of education and work experience CIS will accept vary from visa to visa. For example, with an H1B visa, candidates can combine work experience with college credit to form a US four-year bachelor’s degree equivalency. This is not the case for EB2, where the bachelor’s degree equivalency must be a single source. If the evaluator did not ask about your client’s visa, he does not know this vital element in writing the evaluation you and your client need.
    1. Did they ask about your job offer or your employee or client’s job offer?
    The evaluation that will get your client’s visa approved lends itself to your job, or your employee or client’s job. PERM educational requirements insist that your degree, or your employee or client’s degree be an exact match for the job offer. This means that if the degree is in a related or completely different field from the job, the evaluation must compensate for this and show that you, or your employee or client has the academic equivalency of a degree in the field of employ. This is a common problem because employers commonly hire people with degrees in related fields with work experience in the field because employers know these workers have the specialized skills and knowledge needed to perform job duties. CIS needs an exact match. A credential evaluator cannot write the evaluation that you, or your employee or client needs without knowing the job offer. 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.]]>

    Two Common Reasons and Solutions for Educational RFEs for EB2 Petitions

  • The education equivalency must match the education requirements on the PERM.
  • The bachelor’s degree equivalency must be a single-source degree.
  • The first problem EB2 candidates run into regularly that triggers and education RFE is that their education does not match the education requirements on the PERM. The PERM requires your education, or your employee or client’s education to be an exact match for their job title. This leads right into the second problem. CIS requires an EB2 candidate’s education to have a single-source bachelor’s degree. This means that you, your employee, or your client’s education sources, or education and work experience cannot be combined to write an equivalency. The 2006 Annual Conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association concluded, “For employment-based immigration visa purposes, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will not equate a three-year diploma plus a post-baccalaureate diploma as being the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree for either EB2 classification.” This means if you, your employee, or your client has a two or three-year degree, the credential evaluator you work with needs to be able to write an evaluation to show equivalence to a US four-year degree without combining work experience to fill in the missing fourth year. While this method of evaluation works for the H1B visa, it will not for EB2. What is the solution? Find a credential evaluation agency that often works with difficult cases, RFEs, and Denials because they understand what triggers them, and they understand how to address them. A knowledgeable evaluator knows the concerns and questions CIS has underlying this kind of RFE and can answer them by citing CIS decisions, memos, precedents, and other evidence that show functional equivalence, and how international trade organizations view the equivalence of your client’s degree. At TheDegreePeople, we are able to write evaluations that get our clients’ three and two-year degrees accepted regularly, but it takes a VERY detailed evaluation in which we hold CIS’s hand, guiding them through the complex terrain of the equivalency. One way credential evaluators address this kind of RFE is by utilizing the progressive work experience conversion formula of three years of work experience in the field to one year of college credit in that field to write a Master’s degree equivalence. A credential evaluator can cite federal case law and CIS precedent decisions to write an evaluation that converts five years of progressive work experience in the field to a US Master’s degree in that field to meet PERM education requirements. We see difficult RFEs and Denials every day at TheDegreePeople. While there are never any guarantees with CIS, we follow their educational trends closely and know what tends to work and what does not. If you, your client, or your employ has received an RFE for an education situation, visit us online at cciFree.com. We will review your case at no cost and advise you on how to best proceed. 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.  ]]>

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