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Sheila Danzig

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  1. USCIS and employers have a different idea of what qualified an H-1B employee for their specialty occupation. It is commonplace for employers to hire a candidate with a degree in a field related to the position, given they have proper work experience to master the specialized skills and knowledge necessary to perform it. It has been years since USCIS has regularly approved H-1B cases in which a beneficiary has the required US Bachelor’s degree in a field RELATED to the specialty occupation. USCIS will not outright approve an H-1B visa unless the beneficiary has a degree in the exact specialization of the occupation, or a detailed credential evaluation that explains how their educational and field experience background makes the equivalent of the correct degree specialization. Every year, we have clients come to us in this situation. The way we overturn these RFEs is to write a detailed evaluation that analyzes the course content of the degree earned to highlight college credit hours earned in the exact field of the H-1B job. Then, we take progressive work experience into account to bridge the gap between the beneficiary’s education specialization and the field of the H-1B job. Three years of progressive work experience in the field of the H-1B job in which the beneficiary can prove they took on progressively more responsibility and the nature of their duties and tasks became increasingly complex and specialized can be converted into one year of college credit in the field of the H-1B job. This conversion must be written by a professor with the authority to grant college credit for work experience. At TheDegreePeople.com, we work with professors in all fields to write the work experience conversion for the credential evaluation you or your employee or client needs to get that RFE overturned. There are no cookie cutter solutions to H-1B RFEs because every case is different. Every job is different, and every educational pathway is different, especially when it comes to highly skilled individuals. All evaluations are uniquely researched and written with regards to your, or your employee or client’s education, job, work experience, and visa. For a free review of your case visit ccifree.com. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.
  2. Last year we had countless clients come to us with specialty occupation RFEs. Some of them came to us with RFEs that they had tried to get overturned with an expert opinion letter, and failed. One such client came to us with a specialty occupation RFE for computer programmer. He had submitted an expert opinion letter with the petition, anticipating issues arising. However, the expert opinion letter he included in his petition was from the WRONG expert. USCIS only acknowledges expert opinion letters written by experts that have extensive experience WORKING IN their field of expertise. Simply being a professor or instructor in the field does not cut it, they need to have a wealth of field experience of their own for their opinion to have the weight it takes to sway USCIS. At TheDegreePeople.com, we only work with experts with extensive field experience. While many of our experts are instructors, they also either work now, or have very recently worked directly in the field. When we send USCIS expert opinion letters, RFEs get overturned virtually every time. Of course, the expert opinion letter is only as good as the information provided. The more details you can give our experts the more credible and convincing their letter will be. If you, or if your employee or client received an H-1B RFE for specialty occupation, talk to us. Be sure to have detailed documentation of the duties and responsibilities of the position, the ad for the job as well as ads for the same position in different companies within the field, and proof of past hiring practices to prove that an advanced degree is the norm for minimum required education for entry into the position. We will advise you on anything else you may need for your, or your employee or client’s specific circumstance. For a free review of your case visit ccifree.com/. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.
  3. RFE season is now, and when CIS finds one problem with a petition, they tend to find more. Over the past few years, we have seen a common double RFE involving specialty occupation and education issues. H-1B eligibility rules state that to qualify for H-1B status the H-1B employee must hold a US Bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent in the exact field of the H-1B job. The job must be a specialty occupation, one that requires a minimum of the H-1B educational requirements for entry into the position. This job must involve theoretical and practical application of a specialized body of skills and knowledge as evidenced by the advanced degree. This double RFE calls into question whether the job meets specialty occupation requirements, and whether the H-1B beneficiary meets educational requirements. Some common issues on the job topic are when an occupation sometimes requires this advanced degree minimum qualification, or when the job is set at a low wage level. Some common issues on the topic of the beneficiary’s education are incomplete college, a degree earned outside of the United States – particularly the Indian three-year Bachelor’s degree, no college or a degree from an unaccredited institution, and having the right degree but in the wrong specialization. The first issue can be addressed with evidence showing past hiring practices, the ad for the job and similar jobs that show the minimum requirements meet H-1B specialty occupation requirements, a detailed breakdown of the duties of the job, and an expert opinion letter. This expert opinion letter validates that the job does require specialized knowledge and skill earned through the education required by H-1B statutes, and the expert must have expansive experience working in the field of the specialization, beyond instructing. The second issue can be addressed with the right credential evaluation that takes the job and the education into consideration, along with H-1B requirements, CIS approval trends, and any training that took place in a classroom setting or through progressive work experience in the field to fill in any gaps between the beneficiary’s education and H-1B job requirements. At TheDegreePeople.com, we have experts on hand in all fields ready to write the expert opinion letter CIS needs to get the RFE overturned. All of our experts have extensive work experience in the field. All of our credential evaluators have been trained to work with difficult RFEs and have expertise in international education and particular visa requirements. Every credential evaluation is uniquely researched. If you or your employee or client receives an RFE this summer, time is of the essence. Visit ccifree.com/ for a free review of your case and advisement of how to best proceed.
  4. Recently a lawsuit was filed against USCIS by ITServe Alliance. This is a organization of US IT service companies that had previously petitioned USCIS against new changes to H-1B adjudication rules. The new rules state that for IT consulting companies that contract H-1B employees to work off-site to meet H-1B requirements, they had to prove the H-1B employee would have “Guaranteed specific and non-speculative work assignments” scheduled for the entire duration of their three-year H-1B visa. This rule was applied to new employees seeking H-1B status for the first time, and for existing H-1B employees seeking visa renewal. This new rule has taken a toll on IT consulting firms across the United States. Last fall at the end of FY2018, a study of the 30 top employers that sponsor H-1B employees found that while IT consulting firms saw 20-80% rates of H-1B Denials among their sponsors, non-consulting companies only saw a 1% Denial rate. Consulting firms were answering RFEs and Denials well into the fiscal year the sponsored employee was hired for, cutting into business productivity and damaging relationships with customers because new hires could not start on time because they were still engulfed in a fight for their right to work. While USCIS claims that this new rule is simply a reinterpretation of existing statutes, ITServe Alliance disagrees. Regardless, USCIS is still the gatekeeper of you, or your employee or client’s visa status, and that means you must be prepared to prevent and answer the potential RFE or Denial that is likely to arrive this summer if you or your employee or client works for an IT consulting company. Here is what you need to do to get this kind of RFE or Denial overturned: 1. Clearly show three years of guaranteed and non-speculative work for the H-1B employee. This means providing a detailed itinerary of the employee’s next three years on the job bolstered by customer contracts and timelines. 2. Clearly show that the employer-employee relationship will be maintained even when the H-1B employee is working off-site. This means providing a clear breakdown of the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of the employee along with their means of reporting to the employer. Clearly show avenues of control and accountability as you will need to prove that the employer maintains the ability to hire, fire, promote, and otherwise control the work the H-1B employee does throughout the duration of the H-1B visa, regardless of which site they are working at. 3. Include an expert opinion letter that analyzes, ties together, and lends credibility to the evidence and documentation you provide. This expert must have extensive experience WORKING IN the IT consulting field, and not simply be an IT instructor or professor. At TheDegreePeople.com, we have the right experts on hand 24/7 to write the opinion letter you or your employee or client needs to serve a strong case for approval. 4. Make sure all of your bases are covered. When USCIS finds a red flag in a petition, they look deeper, and they usually find more aspects of a case to take issue with. Education issues, wage level issues, and specialty occupation issues are common features of the first or second round of RFEs. Always take the opportunity to prevent a second round of RFEs when answering the first. For a free review of your case, visit ccifree.com/. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.
  5. USCIS has completed selecting the 85,000 H-1B petitions to be adjudicated for approval for cap-subject petitions for FY 2020. Those selected that filed for premium processing may begin receiving notice this week as to their approval status with the anticipated date of completion set on June 4th. Case adjudication for those who did not file under premium processing will begin early to mid-June and often takes months. Last year, adjudication for FY 2019 – which began October 1st, 2018 – extended into the 2019 calendar year. If you are unsure of whether or not your case was selected, check the account activity on the account of the check written for the H-1B processing fee. If it has been cashed, your case was selected in the lottery. When a notice arrives of the status of the case, do not be alarmed if you receive an RFE or Denial. This is NOT the end of the road. Over the past few years, the prevalence of H-1B RFEs spiked, especially for beneficiaries working entry-level positions, working as computer programmers, and working at wage level one. This year, USCIS adjudicators have been given the authority and encouragement to deny petitions outright without first issuing an RFE. This may lead to a spike in Denials instead of RFEs. Either way, they are possible to overturn and get the visa approved in time to get to work for FY 2020. If you expect an RFE or Denial is coming this H-1B adjudication season, you can better prepare to defend your case or your employee or client’s case. You will need a detailed credential evaluation that takes the job, the visa, USCIS approval trends, and any issues found in the case into consideration. You will also need documentation that details the demands, duties, tasks, and responsibilities of the job, and a detailed breakdown of employer and industry hiring practices with regards to minimum qualifications for the position in question. Finally, you will need an expert who works IN THE FIELD rather than just teaches it to write an opinion letter that ties the evidence you have provided together. First and foremost, however, you will need to take an honest look at your case, or your employee or client’s case and identify what might attract scrutiny by USCIS that could result in a visa Denial. At TheDegreePeople.com, we work with RFEs and Denials every year. We understand what triggers them and we know how to successfully respond to them. 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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