Level 1 Wages RFE: Problems, Solutions, and Misconceptions


This year, CIS slammed H1B candidates with a new RFE none of us anticipated: Level 1 Wages RFE. This RFE targets computer programmers working at Wage Level 1 claiming that employers will hire entry level programmers with only a US Associates degree as a minimum requirement.

Since the H1B visa is for employees with a US Bachelors degree or its foreign equivalent or higher, CIS claims these programmers don't meet educational requirements, and the job itself doesn't meet these requirements either.

The main problems with this RFE are as follows:

1. CIS cites the Occupational Outlook Handbook in this justification. In the same passage, it also states that employers usually hire entry level programmers with a US Bachelors degree or higher as a minimum educational requirement.

2. Wage Level 1 does not mean the job is entry level. That's not how wage levels actually work.

The solution is to respond to this RFE with an expert opinion letter explaining this to CIS, and then providing documentation that the job does require the level of specialization and higher education that meets H1B requirements.

A misconception is that in responding to this RFE, that ONLY this RFE should be responded to. The reality is that an RFE is a door for CIS to scrutinize the entire petition where they will likely find more reasons to issue a second round of RFEs. If you don't preempt the next round of RFEs in your response to the first, you, or your employee or client risks yet another RFE you will have to deal with. That is the trend we've been seeing this year at TheDegreePeople.

There are some jobs and some degrees that are RFE magnets. This hasn't changed simply because CIS is hitting it hard with Level 1 Wages.

About The Author

Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director of CCI, TheDegreePeople.com, a foreign credentials evaluation agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/?CodeLWA/ or call 800.771.4723.

When we review your case, or your employee or client's case to respond to the Level 1 Wages RFE, we review your client's entire case and address other common RFEs and consult you on measures you can take to prevent them, such as including a credential evaluation that addresses these specific issues.

For a no charge and no obligation review of your case or your employee or client's case, please send the following documents to predocs@cci123.com

  • LCA
  • Beneficiary Resume
  • Employer Support Letter
  • Detailed job description including job duties
  • RFE

We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with a full analysis of your case, or your employee or client's case and our recommendations of how to move forward.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.