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The key term when it comes to H1B eligibility is specialization. H1B visa status is for foreign workers with advanced degrees working specialty occupations. These jobs require a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent as a minimum requirement. Additionally, CIS requires the degree to be in the exact specialization of the job, as has been proven by recurrent CIS approval trends over the past five plus years.
If you or your employee or client is applying for H1B visa status, you have two jobs:
- Clearly show that the job is a specialty occupation.
- Clearly show that the candidate has the specialized skills and knowledge necessary to perform the duties of this occupation.
You can do this by providing evidence and documentation about the nature of the beneficiary’s job and education.
Proving Occupational Specialization
To do this, you must clearly show that the job requires the minimum H1B educational requirements to perform. In the petition, include the ad for the job showing with the minimum requirements are. Also include ads for similar jobs in the same industry to show that this level of specialization is standard for this specific occupation, and not just tailored to meet the needs of you or your employee or client’s visa.
If the job does require unique specialization that similar jobs for similar companies do not, include an expert opinion letter about why this is the case. Industry experts, a detailed explanation from the employer, and other reputable professionals are necessary to prove that the job meets H1B specialization requirements.
Proving Educational Specialization
Once you have clearly shown that the job is a specialty occupation, now you must show that you or your employee or client meets the educational requirements for the job, H1B requirements, and CIS approval trends.
To do this, you or your employee or client must hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent in the exact field of the specialty occupation. That means if the job is in Computer Systems Analysis, the degree must be in Computer Systems Analysis. If the job is in Chemistry, the degree must be in Chemistry.
If you or your employee or client holds a degree in a related field, this will not work for CIS. What also won’t work for CIS is having a degree from outside of the US. Both of these situations require an extra step when organizing the petition: credential evaluation.
Take the beneficiary’s education and work experience to a foreign credential evaluator with experience working with H1B visas and their RFEs. These evaluators know what CIS is looking for and what tends to trigger an RFE. They understand what CIS needs to evidence equivalency, and these needs change. For example, if you or your employee or client has a three-year bachelor’s degree from India, CIS will not accept that this is the equivalency of a US four-year bachelor’s degree even if it has the same or greater number of college credit hours. CIS needs a work experience conversion, wherein three years of progressive work experience in the field can be converted to one year of college credit in the field by a professor with the authority to do this. Many credential evaluation agencies work with professors with this authority for this very reason. This conversion can also be used to write an equivalency to the degree in the correct field to prove that you have, or your employee or client has the specialized skills and knowledge necessary for the specific H1B job.
If you or your employee or client has a degree from outside of the United States, or a degree in the wrong specialization, do NOT submit the petition without a credential evaluation. Without one, you have not proven specialization, which is the key aspect of this visa.
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.
Looking back on the past few years, we see one occupation that stands out for getting the most H1B RFEs year after year. In 2017, we predict that this trend will remain intact. The answer is – Computer Systems Analysis.
This occupation receives the very most H1B RFEs every year because CIS education trends have required candidates to hold a degree in the exact field of their specialty occupation. Computer Systems Analysis is an EXTREMELY rare degree. In fact, the only schools in the United States in which a student can earn a bachelor’s degree in Computer Systems Analysis allow for self-designed majors. In India, there is a BCA in Computer Systems Analysis, but this degree will not work for H1B eligibility on its own because it is a three-year bachelor’s degree. CIS requires the fourth year included in a US bachelor’s degree to be accounted for. The only degree we have not seen trigger an RFE in this case is a US Master’s degree for Computer Analysis.
If you hold, or if your employee or client holds one of the few US bachelor’s degrees in Computer Systems Analysis, or a US Master’s in Computer Analysis, you probably don’t have to worry about an education RFE. However, if this isn’t the case, it’s always easier to prevent an RFE in the first place than to have to answer one.
If you have, or if your employee or client has an Indian BCA in Computer Systems Analysis, you need to account for the missing fourth year of education to meet the US equivalency requirements. To do this, talk to a credential evaluator with the authority to convert years of progressive work experience into college credit. Three years working in the field of Computer Systems Analysis in which it can be shown that you or your employee or client took on more responsibility and complexity in their work can be converted into the missing year of college credit towards the degree specialization of Computer Systems Analysis. If you or your employee or client does not have this degree, the same progressive work experience conversion along with a detailed evaluation that includes college coursework in the field of Computer Systems Analysis can be employed to write an equivalency to a US Bachelor’s or Master’s of Computer Systems Analysis.
Before you file, talk to a credential evaluator who can review your case, or your employee or client’s case and see that the college credit and work experience necessary to write the evaluation you or your employee or client needs is there. When there is high risk of RFE, it is necessary to consult with someone experienced in working with H1B RFEs.
From all of us at TheDegreePeople.com, Happy New Year!
About the Author
Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director of TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.