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Level 1 Wages RFE: The New Nightmare

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posted Nov 4 in H1B Visa RFEs by Sheila Danzig (8,100 points)

Until this year, the scariest RFE out there was The Nightmare RFE, also known as the Kitchen Sink because there's literally everything in it.  This year, CIS rolled out an even more difficult RFE: the Level 1 Wages RFE, targeting computer programmers.  What's scary about this RFE is the sheer volume of it, how nobody saw it coming, and very few know how to effectively answer it.

As with the Nightmare, we took a creative approach at TheDegreePeople.com.  We have a 90% success rate answering the Level 1 Wages RFE, and have experts on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week to write the expert opinion letter you need to address this RFE.

Before we get into how to answer this RFE, let's take a look at how CIS is justifying it and where they've gone wrong.

To qualify for H1B visa status, the candidate must hold a US Bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent in their field of employ, and the job must have a minimum requirement of a US Bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent to be able to perform the duties of the job.

CIS has been issuing this RFE to candidates working computer programmer jobs at Level 1 Wages, as indicated by the employer on the LCA.  CIS uses the US Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook as a resource to determine whether or not a job meets specialization requirements for the H1B visa.  In this RFE, CIS cites the passage in the handbook that states some employers will hire entry level computer programmers with only a US Associates degree, which does not meet H1B specialization requirements.

The first problem here is that CIS assumes that just because an employee is being paid Level 1 Wages the position is entry level.  This is not the case.  A major function of the H1B visa program is to provide work opportunities for recent college graduates who came to the United States for college.  Even with a Bachelors in Computer Sciences or a related field, employees with no work experience in the field need a high level of guidance and supervision, necessitating a low wage level.

Second, in that same section in the Occupational Outlook Handbook CIS uses to justfiy this RFE, it also states that employers usually require a US Bachelors degree as a minimum requirement for entry level computer programmer positions.

There has been talk of how to prevent this RFE in the future, but in many cases it is impossible.  Employers can select a different job than computer programmer, but this will often result in a different RFE because the job description they indicate on the LCA will not match the duties of the actual job the candidate is hired for.  The employer could also pay the candidate Level 2 Wages, but this is often not possible either.  There has been talk of preemptively submitting an expert opinion letter along with the initial H1B petition, but this is far more complex than submitting a credential evaluation along with the initial petition, which has been an effective strategy to avoid the Nightmare RFE.

The reality is, to answer this RFE, you're going to need help.

To have us review your case, or your employee or client's case at no charge and no obligation, please send the following documents to predocs@cci123.com:

• The LCA

• Beneficiary's resume and educational documents

• Employer support letter

• Detailed description of the job and its duties

• The RFE

We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with a full analysis of the case.  If we can help you, we will also send information about costs and how to order.

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