h1b RFE

Visa Adjudication Memorandum Support Part I: Expert Opinion Letters for Issues We Can Help You With

Specialty Occupation Letter Some reasons you, or your employee or client will need a specialty occupation letter have to do with wage level issues, which has been a common problem for the past two H1B seasons.  If the wage level is low, or if the low wage level indicates that the job is an entry-level position, you will need an expert opinion letter that explains how the job meets H1B specialty occupation requirements and why the wage level was selected.  Another issues that would require a specialty occupation letter to explain is the issue of what education level is typically required as a minimum to perform the job.  Could someone else with less education perform the same job?  For H1B visa approval the answer MUST be a resounding no, and this specialty occupation letter must explain why. Specialized Knowledge Letter To meet H1B requirements, it must be clearly shown that the beneficiary holds the specialized knowledge required to work the specialty occupation position.  If the beneficiary holds a generalized degree, incomplete college, or a degree in a different field than the position, you will need a specialized knowledge letter to show that the job requires the employee to have specialized knowledge, and that the employee has the specialized knowledge necessary.  This means specialized knowledge of the employer’s services, products, equipment, processes and procedures. Credential Evaluations If you, or if your employee or client has a degree from outside of the United States, a degree in a field that does not exactly match the H1B job, or incomplete or no college at all, you will need to include a credential evaluation to show that your education, or your employee or client’s education – inside and outside of the classroom – is the equivalent US academic value of what is required to meet H1B education standards.  To qualify for H1B status, the beneficiary must hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher in the field of the specialty occupation.  If you, or your employee or client holds ANYTHING BUT a US bachelor’s degree (or higher if required by the specialty occupation) in the exact field of the specialty occupation, you will need to include a credential evaluation letter to clearly show CIS that H1B educational requirements are met. Work Experience Evaluations If the beneficiary has incomplete college, no college, or needs extra credits to meet US academic value requirements from an overseas degree, or if the degree is in a generalized or mismatched specialization, you will need to include a work experience evaluation.  Three years of progressive work experience in the field of the specialty occupation can be evaluated to be the equivalent of one year of college credit in that field.  Progressive work experience means that the nature of the work became increasingly complex with the beneficiary taking on more responsibility as the course of the employment went on, indicating that education took place on the job. If your case, or if your employee or client’s case includes one or more of these triggering situations, or if you are unsure of whether issues are likely to arise, visit ccifree.com/ for a free review of your case.  We will identify issues likely to arise in the adjudication process and recommendations on how to prevent them in the initial petition. Watch out for Part II next week where we will discuss expert opinion letters needed for Education-Based Green Card petitions.  ]]>

H1B Changes in Adjudication Means Getting the Initial Filing Correct

If you, or if your client or employee is planning to file for H1-B status for FY2020, the process has changed.  This coming season, you will still file the first week of April as always.  The good news is no paperwork must be submitted until AFTER your employee or client is selected in the H-1B lottery. The troubling news is that CIS will now be denying petitions outright without issuing RFEs. Denials are much more difficult to overturn than RFEs.  This change has lawyers talking about submitting the specialty occupation expert opinion letter right away with the rest of the paperwork to avoid an RFE that won’t come anymore. While every year at TheDegreePeople we urge H1-B hopefuls and their teams that the best answer to an RFE is to avoid it in the first place.  This coming season it’s more important than ever to identify where your employee or client’s case is likely to run into trouble and include any additional evidence and documentation in the initial petition. The past two years, the rate of specialty occupation RFEs has made a sharp rise.  If you hold, or if your employee or client holds a job that does not require a US Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent or higher in all cases as an industry standard, you need to include an expert opinion letter that clearly shows why the job in question meets H1-B standards for what qualifies as a specialty occupation.  Don’t take any chances this year.  If you are selected, or if your employee or client is selected in the H-1B lottery, you need to include any credential evaluations, supporting evidence, and expert opinion letters needed in the first paperwork filing because you will not get a second chance anymore.  At TheDegreePeople we have experts on hand 24/7 to write the letter you need, or your employee or client needs to get that H1-B petition approved.  We work with difficult RFEs every year and we know what tends to trigger an RFE and how to prevent them.  Don’t file without a specialty occupation letter.  Visit ccifree.com/ for a free consultation on your case, or your employee or client’s case.  We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.  ]]>

Round 2: What to do if the 2nd RFE Arrives After Resolving the First RFE

If the petition process and first round of H1B RFEs aren’t stressful enough here comes round two of RFEs.  When CIS finds something wrong with a petition, it opens the floodgates to finding more details out of place that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.  The best way to prevent round two of RFEs is to prevent round one by identifying the common RFE triggers inherent to the situation in your case and plan accordingly, but this doesn’t always work. If you or your employee or client is facing down RFE round two, don’t panic.  The petition has not been denied, CIS just needs more information to make a decision. The trick with any RFE is not to get caught up in the wording or individual demands, but rather to go back to the basics and see where evidence and analysis is lacking.  To qualify for H1B status, the job must be a specialty occupation, which means as an industry standard or a standard hiring practice a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree or higher in the specialization is required for entry into the occupation.  The beneficiary must hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its acceptable equivalency in the exact field of the specialty occupation.  The employer must be economically viable and pay the beneficiary the prevailing wages and benefits for the specialty occupation, and there must be an employer-employee relationship in which the employer can hire, fire, promote, supervise and otherwise control the work the beneficiary does. Read the RFE and identify which of these requirements CIS is having trouble adjudicating.  Is it the job?  Is it the education?  Is it the working conditions?  At TheDegreePeople we work with difficult RFEs every year and we know how to identify where cases are lacking in evidence and analysis, and which common RFE traps beneficiaries fall into as CIS approval trends change from year to year.  Let us review your case for free before you answer that second round of RFEs.  Visit ccifree.com and we will get back to you in 48 hours or less.]]>

Effective Now: Memorandum Lets Adjudicators Deny Petitions without NOID or RFE

th, 2018.  This memorandum allows adjudicators to deny incomplete applications, requests, and petitions without first issuing an NOID and RFE. Before the memorandum, adjudicators were required to issue an RFE or NOID instead of outright Denials unless there was absolutely no possibility that the case would be approved.  Now, adjudicators have broader discretion to flat out deny petitions. CIS says that the purpose of this memorandum is to deter “placeholder” petitions, which are incomplete petitions with vague answers that are later clarified in RFE responses.  Adjudicators can now deny these cases flat out.  Some examples include petitions submitted without supporting evidence or severely lacking in supporting evidence, petitions submitted with questions left unanswered, and petitions that require additional official documents or evidence but are submitted without them. While this amendment sounds alarming, in theory it really doesn’t change much for petitioners.  From what we can tell at TheDegreePeople, reports of issue have been exaggerated.  It has always been generally advised for petitioners of all visas to submit complete petitions, on time, with all supporting evidence and documentation included.  In this sense, nothing has actually changed when it comes to optimizing your chances of visa approval. However, laws on the books are different from laws in action.  To see the full scope of how this new memorandum will change visa approval, we will have to wait and see how it all plays out with USCIS.  In the meantime, it’s now more important than ever that you get the petition right the first time.  That means identifying where CIS is likely to have questions about your case and providing any additional evidence they will need before they have to ask for it. At TheDegreePeople, we have been working with RFEs for years and follow CIS approval trends.  The best way to answer an RFE now, as it has always been, is to prevent it in the first place.  Visit TheDegreePeople.com to chat with us about your case. Have you encountered issues with this new memorandum?  We want to hear about it!  Comment here to post your opinions and experiences regarding this matter.      ]]>

Prevailing Wage: How to Address the H1B Wage Level Issue RFE

To meet H1B requirements, the employer must pay the H1B employee the prevailing wage for the position in that industry for companies of that size in that geographical location. Last year, we saw jobs with Level 1 Wages targeted both questioning the wage level and whether the job meets H1B specialization requirements.

But what if the prevailing wage level for the specialty occupation in question is level one?

First, regardless of the job in question, you have to be very familiar with the position’s entry in the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. If the job is set at wage level one, it is likely CIS will assume it’s an entry level position. Some entry level positions do not require the advanced degree that H1B status demands – a US bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent.

If the entry level position requires anything lower than a US bachelor’s degree as a minimum qualification – even if the job itself isn’t entry-level – you will run into trouble.

To address this wage level issue, you will need to include a detailed breakdown of the position’s duties and responsibilities. Include the ad for the job and past hiring practices that clearly show the minimum requirement of a US bachelors degree for entry into the position. You should also include a detailed analysis of all of the factors that went into determining the wage level for the job and tie it all together with an expert opinion letter to fortify your case.

This is just one of many wage level issue RFEs coming in this year. CIS may take issue with the job at any wage level. The important thing to remember about wage level RFEs is that they are inextricably linked with specialty occupation issues, so it’s best to address both issues with the same response. In your expert opinion letter, both topics should be covered.

To meet H1B requirements for specialty occupation, the job must require a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent for entry into the position. If this is a requirement for the specific job in question but not as an industry standard as indicated in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, you will need to provide a detailed job description that clearly shows the duties and responsibilities of the job require a specialized knowledge base and skill set. You will also need to document past hiring practices to show this position always requires an advanced degree for this particular business. If the Occupational Outlook Handbook states that sometimes employers will hire for this position with lower minimum educational requirements, provide ads for the same position in similar companies in the industry to show that the lower minimum educational requirement is the exception, not the rule. Regardless of your situation, the expert opinion letter must be included for analysis and fortification of your case.

At TheDegreePeople.com we have experts on hand 24/7 in all industries and areas of expertise to write the opinion letter you need, or your employee or client needs to get that H1B visa approved. For a free consultation visit ccifree.com/?CodeLWA/. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.


Wage Level and Specialty Occupation RFEs: Who Dropped the Ball?

Sometimes it’s the employer’s fault.If the job indicated by the employer on the LCA does not match the position on the H1B petition, or if the job indicated on the LCA is in the “other” category, or doesn’t match the duties of the actual position, or if the wage level set does not clearly meet the prevailing wage for the job, that means the employer is at fault. Consistent answers across forms is essential. If the job in question differs from the duties and responsibilities, or differs from the wage level indicated in the entry for the position in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the petition needs to clearly explain how these differences fit within the requirements of H1B visa status. Sometimes it’s the beneficiary’s fault.Sometimes beneficiaries don’t actually have the correct degree for the H1B job. Sometimes mistranslated educational documents, diplomas that are mistaken for degrees, and other issues that arise my virtue of hiring across cultures and educational structures hinder the approval process. Sometimes it’s the evaluator’s fault.If you or your employee or client has education from outside of the United States or a degree that is not an exact match for the H1B job, a credential evaluation is needed to fill in the gaps with a close evaluation of the course content and work experience with regards to the job in question, and specific H1B eligibility requirements. If the credential evaluator relied on online databases like EDGE to write the evaluation, or if the credential evaluator did not ask about the job or the visa, chances are the evaluation did not address all of the questions CIS must answer to approve the visa. Sometimes it’s no one’s fault. CIS approval trends change every year, which makes it difficult to predict what they will hone in on next. Sometimes mistakes are made on the bureaucratic end and you receive an RFE for evidence clearly provided in the initial H1B petition. If this is the case, you still have to answer it. It’s important to note that finding out who dropped the ball doesn’t have to be about pointing fingers or condemning a member of the H1B team. The key here is to find out how to solve the problem of the RFE and get it overturned. At TheDegreePeople we work with difficult RFEs every year, and we always find creative solutions to even the most complex and convoluted RFEs. Let us help you. For a free review of your case, or your employee or client’s case, visit ccifree.com.. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.]]>

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