While initiating the LCA (Labor Condition Application) with the DOL (Department of Labor) for H-1B and E-3 specialty occupation categories, each specialty occupation position’s wages are divided into 4 levels by the Department of Labor (DOL). These start with Level 1 wages for entry-level occupations – employees who are closely supervised and who exercise limited judgment. Wage Level 2 requires the employees to exercise more judgment. Levels 3 and 4 are for experienced, advanced personnel demonstrating mastery of their occupation. “The wage level should be commensurate with the complexity of tasks, independent judgment required, and the amount of close supervision received as described in the employer’s job opportunity.”
Recently, we are seeing instances where USCIS officers have the notion that if an employer offers a Level 1 wage to an employee, it is an indication that the position may not be a “specialty occupation.” In other words, to a USCIS officer, being of the lowest wage level means that the position may not require a bachelor’s degree at minimum. This is not correct, there are certain occupations for which you would need to establish that the degree is indeed essential to that specific occupation. What needs to be understood with respect to H1-B visas is that the wage level guidelines published by the DOL favor awarding entry-level 1 wages irrespective of occupation. However, there is no such connection, and the qualifications necessary for a position define a wage level and “specialty occupation” status.
In response to such RFEs, our experts provide an optional service of wage level analysis in the expert opinion. Our professors provide additional analysis on whether the wage level designated at the time of filing is appropriate for the position based on the complexity of the job duties and that the position is, in fact, a Specialty Occupation and not merely an entry-level position.
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