How do you know if an H-1B worker is qualified for the specialty occupation position?
One of the requirements that must be satisfied in order to receive H-1B visa status is that the H-1B worker must be qualified for the H-1B specialty occupation.
The primary way to demonstrate an H-1B worker is indeed qualified for the position is to show that the H-1B worker has a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher in a field that is relevant to the specialty occupation. For example, a person with a U.S. bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering would likely be qualified for a Software Developer position. People with foreign degrees that are related to the specialty occupation may also be qualified for H-1B specialty occupation as long as they are able to demonstrate that their foreign degrees are the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree. There are a number of education credentialing services that provide such evaluations.
A less common, but sometimes necessary way to prove an H-1B worker is qualified for the specialty occupation requires using a combination of education and professional experience. In the H-1B context, three years of relevant progressive professional experience may be equated to one year’s worth of study at the bachelor’s level. This means that an H-1B worker with a somewhat unrelated degree may be able to show they are qualified for an H-1B specialty occupation if they have three years or more of progressive professional experience that is relevant to the H-1B specialty occupation.
Determining whether an H-1B worker is qualified for an H-1B specialty occupation and devising a strategy to prove such qualifications is vital to the success of any H-1B petition and should be done early on in the H-1B process. Failure to do so can lead to unanticipated RFEs or NOIDS, and even the denial of the H-1B petition.
By: Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor advises employers and individuals on all aspects of U.S. immigration law, with a particular focus on nonimmigrant visas. His practice includes filing petitions and applications for immigration benefits, responding to requests for evidence issued by government agencies, and drafting motions and appeals.