Welcome to the 2017 RFE season for cap-subject H1B candidates. The RFEs are in the mail and if this year reflects the years past, we expect one of every four H1B petitions to receive an RFE.
If you or your employee or client receives an RFE, don’t panic! This is frustrating, but not the end of the world. You can make the most of the RFE to strengthen the case and turn that maybe into a resounding approval.
Here’s the trick: First, sit down with your team and go over the RFE. Then, put the RFE aside and go back to the initial H1B requirements. Oftentimes, the RFE will not tell you how to answer it. In fact, some RFEs are virtually impossible to answer by their own guidelines. The secret to successfully answering an RFE is to discern which of the initial H1B requirements were not clearly met in the original filing, and then do what you can to fill in the gaps.
To qualify for an H1B visa, a candidate’s job must be a specialty occupation. That means the minimum requirements for the job include holding a US bachelor’s degree or higher to perform the tasks of that job. The candidate and employer must have an employer-employee relationship, meaning the employer can hire, fire, pay, promote, and otherwise control the work the employee does. The employer must be economically viable and pay the candidate the prevailing wages and benefits for the job without cutting into operating costs. Finally, the employee must hold the proper degree or degree equivalency in the exact field of the job.
If these requirements are clearly met, CIS will almost always approve the visa. However, CIS does have approval trends that change from year to year, and are specific when it comes to employee education.
If you or your employee or client has a degree from outside of the United States, a generalized degree, or a degree that is not an exact match for their H1B job, you will need to provide a credential evaluation that fills in the gaps between the candidate’s education and the education CIS requires. This is a highly specialized process. The credential evaluation agency you want works regularly with H1B RFE cases and follows CIS approval trends.
Before you get to far on your RFE response, let us provide a pre-evaluation with all of your options to help prevent or overturn an educational RFE. Simply go to ccifree.com and submit the educational documents and a current accurate resume along with the candidate’s job title or desired equivalence. We will get back to you within 24 hours with the pre-evaluation, a full analysis, and all of your options.
About the Author
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.