We represented an IT consulting company and a Senior Software Engineer employed by them from the point forward where they received an RFE. USCIS issued a Request for Evidence (RFE) questioning accreditation of the Indian universities where the applicant received his degrees. We researched the universities in question and documented that both are highly regarded and world renowned institutions. Additionally, we received an expert opinion that noted that both universities were accredited at the time the applicant received his degrees. In our response, we pointed out that there is more than one relevant accreditation body in India and both universities in question were and are recognized by the Indian government. The case was approved in about two weeks.
Form I-140 Sample Cases
These are some sample cases from our files. It is impossible for us to present all have done past over 15 years of our practice. But these were some cases that came to mind when we started writing this column 2-3 years ago.
We have received a series of reversals and remands from the USCIS appeals office (“AAO”) where we had argued that the USCIS had erroneously and illegally revoked approved I-140 petitions. The grounds of appeal in the cases involved:
Failure to prove qualifications of employee because the documentation of experience was insufficient;
Successorship-in-interest of companies, where one company was acquired by another;
Legality of “roving jobs,” consulting positions that require periodic relocation.
The revocation of the I-140s have been reversed and USCIS has been asked to revisit their decision. We are by no means out of the woods yet, but at least we are vindicated in our understanding that these decisions were against law and policy.
How does one prove that five years’ experience gained while working for one employer, with one job title is progressively responsible in nature?
That issue was key in a recent EB-2, I-140 petition. USCIS issued a Request For Evidence (RFE) alleging that although the employee had the requisite experience, he had failed to establish that his experience had grown progressively responsible after receipt of his Bachelor’s degree.
Note that a requirement of EB-2 category is that the foreign worker must possess a Bachelor’s degree and 5 years of progressively responsible, post-bachelor’s experience. So, unless we are able to prove that the experience is “progressively responsible,” we would lose our EB-2 case. The complication here was that all five years of experience were with same employer and the same job title. It took considerable investigation and understanding of the IT field, but we could see that the experience was indeed progressive. Accordingly, we responded with a significant amount of evidence, including employment letters, affidavits, and pay stubs. We also presented several cases and legal arguments that backed our position.
The petition was approved in less than two weeks.
We filed an EB-2 I-140 Petition for a petitioner corporation and a beneficiary Senior Systems Analyst. The USCIS sent us a Request for Evidence (RFE), requesting information proving that the petitioner would be in an employer/employee relationship with the beneficiary and that the petitioner had the ability to pay the proffered wages for all of the beneficiaries for whom it had petitioned.
We filed a lengthy response with nearly forty exhibits. The petition was approved less than three weeks later.
We filed an I-140 application in which the beneficiary was no longer working for the employer and was living outside the U.S. We included fairly standard supporting documents. To show the employer’s ability to pay the offered wage, we submitted federal tax returns and a W-2 from the preceding year. To show the beneficiary’s qualifications, we submitted a copy of his degree and affidavits from previous supervisors and co-workers with supporting documents. USCIS issued a Request for Evidence (RFE) that called into question both the employer’s ability to pay the offered wage and the beneficiary’s qualifications.
The RFE challenged that the submitted W-2 did not belong to the beneficiary, and that evidence of the employer’s ability to pay the full wage from the priority date onward was required. With additional documentation and a thorough legal response, we proved that the W-2 wages were paid to the beneficiary and that the employer did indeed have the means to pay the offered salary at all times in question. In regards to the beneficiary’s qualifications, USCIS requested official letters from the beneficiary’s previous employers. The beneficiary was able to procure letters showing part of his required experience, and we addressed the other concerns with affidavits and other thorough supporting documentation. With the submitted evidence and our legal arguments, USCIS approved the I-140 application, and the beneficiary was able to obtain an H-1B extension based on the approval.
The following two cases demonstrate how USCIS, an "expert" agency, can misread immigration forms, causing unnecessary anxiety and expense for people.
We submitted two I-140’s for EB-2 cases in which the requirements from the PERM Petition were a Master’s Degree and three years’ experience, or a Bachelor’s Degree and five years’ experience. One case received a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) and the other a Request for Evidence (RFE). In both cases, USCIS misinterpreted the requirements as a MS+3 or, in lieu of Master’s, BS+5, meaning three years’ experience plus the Bachelor’s Degree and five years’ experience. Therefore, the officer required proof of each applicant having a Bachelor’s and eight years’ experience.
In the Intent to Deny case, the applicant had a Bachelor’s and more than five years’ experience, but did not have eight years. We responded, stating that the requirements were being read incorrectly from the PERM petition and that the requirements clearly did not require a BS+8, but a BS plus only five years. The USCIS denied this case, claiming that the applicant did not have the required eight years, and denied the accompanying I-485 petitions for the main applicant and his family. We immediately filed a new I-140 case, and this second filing was ultimately approved without any RFE or Intent to Deny. Upon extensive subsequent follow-up, we were also able to have the denied I-485’s reopened and linked to the approved I-140, saving the applicant thousands of dollars in filing fees. As the priority date for this case was current, the I-485’s were processed, and the applicant received his Green Card in a short period.
After the first case was denied, we received the RFE in the second case. The applicant had a Bachelor’s and approximately six years’ experience. Knowing about the denial in the first case, we responded with a detailed argument and an in-depth analysis of the PERM form and answers, the instructions, and the drafts of future PERM petitions that had been released by the Department of Labor (DOL) in attempt to show that the actual requirement was a MS+3 or BS+5, not MS+3 or BS+8 as the USCIS claimed. This I-140 was approved.
The following case is an example of USCIS blanket revocations based upon criminal convictions. Fortunately, USCIS did keep an open mind and permitted us to show the law and the facts in their proper light without having to go to the Court over this.
A petitioner with several employees filed an I-140 application for a beneficiary using substituted labor. USCIS approved the I-140. The beneficiary filed an I-485 application and ported to other employers. Meanwhile, USCIS received a letter of withdrawal of the I-140 petition from petitioner’s representative whom USCIS found had never worked for petitioner. Later, the employer/petitioner pled guilty to mail fraud and admitted to each element of the crime. USCIS found all petitions filed by that petitioner fraudulent. USCIS issued a Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) the beneficiary’s I-140 FIVE years after the I-140 approval and after the beneficiary had ported twice to new employers. We took over the case and filed a response. We pointed out all the legal infirmities with sweeping generalization that overturns all approved cases based upon a conviction. We also pointed out item by item how every allegation in the NOIR was, in fact, without basis in law or fact. USCIS reaffirmed approval of the I-140. Later, the beneficiary’s I- 485 was also approved.
The applicant completed a three-year Diploma in Computer Engineering from an accredited institution in India (Government Polytechnic Mumbai). The applicant was then directly admitted to the second year Bachelor of Engineering (B.E) program at an advanced level and completed the four-year degree B.E. program.
We provided several items of evidence that indicated that the applicant had attained the foreign equivalent of a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from an accredited U.S. college or university.
The I-140 was approved.
We had a Labor certification case filed for an IT professional. The requirements were Bachelor's degree and 5 years of experience. We filed I-140 under EB-2 category. After approximately 8 months, USCIS sent us an RFE saying Bachelor's plus five years would not qualify under EB2 unless the experience required is progressive in nature. We knew that USCIS was wrong under the circumstances of the case, but an argument with the government was unnecessary because the EB-3 priority dates were then current. In the RFE, the employer was also given an option of changing the classification to EB3. After discussion it was decided that employer will accept EB-3 classification since the priority dates for EB-3 category were current. Then the EB3 and EB2 priority dates slipped back.
Recently when the EB-2 PD became current for our client, we applied again for an EB-2 I-140 using the same labor certification.
The I-140 approval was received along with the I-485 approval notice.
EB1 – Outstanding Researcher – Seed Technology/Plant Science
This week, we filed an I-140 petition premium processing and received an approval within 24 hours. The applicant had over thirteen years’ research experience, some of which was while working for a world-renowned company known for its innovative work in seed technology. We were able to provide substantial documentary evidence of the applicant’s original contributions that began as early has his Ph.D. years. The applicant had published some very significant articles that changed the course of research for many of his peers. Thus, his publications were cited heavily in top scientific journals with high impact factors. We were also able to supply copies of articles featuring the applicant and his work. The applicant had also been invited to participate on a national advisory board for a prominent society due to his reputation in the scientific community. Reference letters from leading experts clearly defined this applicant as one of the very top scientists in this unique specialty. The 24-hour turn around was a very pleasant surprise indeed.