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What does the Level 1 Wages RFE Mean for the H1B Visa?

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posted Jan 9 in H1B Visa RFEs by Sheila Danzig (8,100 points)

This year, CIS hit computer programmers petitioning for H1B status with an unprecedented round of RFEs: the Level 1 Wages RFE.

There are a couple of particulars about this RFE that make it especially threatening to the H1B program at large.  This RFE targets computer programmers at wage level 1, claiming that this means it's an entry level position and employers will hire entry level computer programmers with only a US Associates degree.  They cite a passage from the Occupational Outlook Handbook that states this.

The problems are as follows: the same passage states that typically employers will require a minimum of a US Bachelors degree, which satisfies the H1B educational requirement that a beneficiary must have a US Bachelors degree or higher or its foreign equivalent.  The second problem is that just because a job is set at level one wages doesn't mean it's an entry level position.

Here is why this is dangerous: this RFE indirectly targets foreign students that come to the US for college.  The H1B visa is an incentive to attract bright minds from around the world to US academic institutions because it offers them the opportunity to stay in the country after college to contribute their ideas, insight, knowledge, and ability to the US workforce, particularly in STEM industries where it is needed the most.  Computer programmers working at level 1 wages are likely to be fresh out of college and just entering the workforce.  The low wage level is set not because it is entry level, but because a high level of training and supervision is still required on the part of the employer for recent graduates just entering the workforce as they acclimate to applying their learned skills to the work environment.

The Level 1 Wages RFE is a deterrent for international students as well as international workers, and it's up to all of us to fight it.  Just as we've cracked the code of the dreaded Nightmare RFE in years passed, we've also learned how to address this new RFE.

If you or your employee or client has received a Level 1 Wages RFE, let us review the case at no charge and no obligation.  Simply send the following documents to predocs@cci123.com:

• LCA

• Beneficiary Resume and Educational Documents

• Employer Support Letter

• Detailed Job Description

• RFE

We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with a full review of the case, and our suggestions on how to move forward to successfully overturn the RFE.

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