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AAO Overturns USCIS H-1B Denials for Level 1 Prevailing Wage

In January 2018, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) issued two decisions that overturned two USCIS decisions denying Forms I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) in the H-1B category. The cases are Matter of B-C-, Inc., ID #1139516 (AAO Jan 25, 2018) and Matter of G-J-S-USA, Inc., ID# 1182139 (AAO Jan. 25, 2018).

In Matter of B-C-, the petitioner employer offered the beneficiary employee a Level I wage for a position that required a master’s degree. In Matter of G-J-S-USA, Inc. the petitioner employer also offered a beneficiary employee a Level I wage for a position requiring licensing by a local board of engineers. USCIS denied both petitioners on the basis that a Level I wage was too low given that the nature of the positions required more than a mere bachelor degree. The AAO reversed both denials, holding that the requirements above a bachelor degree do not automatically warrant a higher level wage.

The AAO stated that “there is no inherent inconsistency between an entry-level position and a specialty-occupation” and that “most professionals start their careers in what are deemed entry-level positions.” Thus, a Level I wage is sufficient for a position that requires a higher degree or licensing for anyone wishing to enter into the relevant field.

The AAO further elaborated the USCIS should follow the Department of Labor’s prevailing wage assessment guidance (and its Appendix D for professional positions) for determination of the proper wage level.

Matter of B-C-.pdf
Matter of G-J-S-USA Inc.pdf

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