RFE Magnets: 2 H-1B Jobs that Top the RFE Chart


Filing season has come and passed, and now it's time to play the waiting game. Over the past few years, we saw a climb in RFE prevalence leading up to last years spike.

That means, if you, or your employee or client filed on time and made the H-1B lottery, there's a high chance your work is far from over.

Two jobs in particular attract a disproportionate amount of RFEs: Computer Systems Analysis, and Computer Programmers at Level 1 Wages. If you hold, or if your employee or client holds one of these jobs, it's important to know what you're up against. If you didn't take steps to preempt RFEs that are commonly linked with these jobs, don't panic. An RFE is not the end of the world, and there are steps you can take to rectify the situation.

First, let's take a look at Computer Systems Analysis. The reason this job is so problematic is because CIS requires H-1B beneficiaries to hold a degree specialization that matches the job title. Computer Systems Analysis is a VERY rare degree. In fact, this degree is only available at US colleges that offer self-designed majors. India has a Computer Systems Analysis bachelors degree. However, since the Indian BCA is a three-year program this degree too will trigger an RFE if the petition doesn't include a credential evaluation that converts three years of progressive work experience into that missing fourth year of college credit. A US masters of Computer Systems Analysis is the only degree we have not seen trigger an RFE for this job.

If your job, or your employee or client's H-1B job is Computer Systems Analysis and they don't hold a US masters of Computer Systems Analysis, there is a high RFE risk. Beneficiaries with an Indian BCA in Computer Systems Analysis need to include a credential evaluation with their petition as discussed above. Beneficiaries with education in a related field need to submit a credential evaluation as well that emphasizes course credits in the field of Computer Systems Analysis and converts years of progressive work experience in that field into years of college credit towards earning that specialization equivalency. If you included the right credential evaluation with the petition last week, you took effective steps to prevent this RFE. If you did not, you can still submit this credential evaluation with the RFE response.

Next, let's take a look at the Level 1 Wages RFE that disproportionately affected computer programmers making Level 1 Wages. H-1B status is for jobs that require a minimum of a US bachelors degree or its equivalent, and for candidates who meet this degree requirement. CIS uses the US Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook to determine whether or not a job meets H-1B eligibility requirements. Entry level computer programmer is a borderline occupation, meaning that according to the handbook, employers sometimes hire entry level programmers with only a US associates degree, making this job ineligible for H-1B consideration.

There were two main problems with this reasoning: The first is that just because a job is set at level 1 wages doesn't mean it's an entry level position. Determining wage levels is a complex process that takes many factors into consideration, including how much supervision, guidance, and training a worker will need. Since many H-1B beneficiaries are just coming out of college and into the workforce, even though they have the right education, they may not have the on-the-job experience necessary to work without a high level of supervision at first. This factors into the decision to set non-entry level jobs at level 1 wages.

The second problem with CIS' reasoning for this RFE is that in the same passage of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the US Department of Labor states that employers will usually require a minimum of a US bachelors degree for the position of entry level computer programmer, indicating that it does meet CIS requirements for specialization.

If you hold, or your employee or client holds this position at level 1 wages, they are at a high risk of RFE. In this situation, you need to include an expert opinion letter along with documentation that this job is specialized to meet CIS requirements for H-1B status.

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.

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