H-1B RFE Case for a UX/UI Designer

Complicated H-1B RFE Case For A UX/UI Designer

Full Video Transcript

A landscape architect got an offer to do UX/UI design for a gaming company. Now in an ordinary world, in a normal situation, perfectly fine, good for you, pursuing your dreams. But the situation here is that that landscape architect needed the H1B visa, and USCIS has some very specific rules on what kind of jobs you can do based on your degree, right? And this is the craziest request for evidence I have here in my hand. In this video, I want to walk you through everything we did. Let’s go.

Hi everyone, my name is Joseph. I’m the managing partner here at Tsang & Associates where we solve legal problems with creative solutions. So the legal problem is that now this client is facing a really, really challenging request for evidence for his H1B application. 

To be clear, to get an H1B application, you need to prove that you are qualified for this position, that you have the degree, you have the experience necessary to do this position because the United States government is giving you a work visa to take this job as opposed to any other US workers. There’s no question that this applicant is smart. He has a great degree. But the problem is he majored in landscape architecture. 

Why didn’t he get a job in landscape architecture? But he got a job doing UX/UI design. And if you know anything about UX/UI, it was all the hype in the past few years, and a lot of people have that degree compared to landscape architecture. So why? Why is this person filling this position? That’s one big question mark. 

And the second question, which is just as big, why does a gaming company need a UX/UI position that requires a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree? Like why can’t a high schooler do that? Or why can’t anybody? Why is it so specialized? UX/UI seems like something that anybody could just pick up, even if you’re an English major or you’re a feminist studies major. It doesn’t matter; you can learn it. And if anybody who is smart can learn it, then it doesn’t qualify for H1B. It needs to be specialized. So that’s the tricky part for this case. There’s two huge arguments that we need to win in order for this case to pass.

Now, we didn’t file this case, right? And what’s really interesting is that this client came to us first. We did a consultation; we walked them through everything that needs to be done. But for whatever reason, they had to go with the company’s firm lawyer to file. And this RFE, man, starts by challenging degree as normally the minimum requirement. USCIS writes, “You did not submit any evidence for this criterion.” 

Secondly, degree is common to the industry. You know what they wrote? “You did not submit any evidence for this criterion.” Position is so complex or unique. “You did not submit any evidence for this criterion.” The employer normally requires degree or its equivalent. “You did not submit any evidence for this criterion.” But it doesn’t end there; it goes on to the beneficiary’s qualifications. “You have not established that the beneficiary is qualified to perform services in the specialty occupation.”

Now, we didn’t file this case, so when we saw the request for evidence, we’re like, “Okay, we really need to see the prior filing because we cannot deviate too much. Whatever they argued, we have to go and do extensions of that. So please get the original filing to us.” 

Luckily, in a sense, there weren’t too many arguments in there, right? They didn’t submit too many things, and so it’s a blank slate. All we know and all we have to work with really is the UX design position, that the company exists, and their degree. 

So to do this case, we split it into two teams. One team specifically focused on the argument why this gaming company needs a UX/UI designer and that the degree in that position is specialized. We went through other specialized industry standard setters. We used the various authors that are specialists in this area, and we used various articles showing how many people who are going into UI/UX have bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees. So we spent four or five pages explaining as if it was a UX/UI 101 class at university. 

Then the second argument we moved to is bachelor’s degree is common to the industry. We found 10 different companies; we described each one of them and what they do and how they are similar to our gaming company and talked about their job postings and how all of them, all 10 of these companies, all hire UI/UX designers and their job descriptions and the degree that they required. So they all required bachelor’s, or university, or master’s degree to be able to do the job. 

Then we went on to a whole new category that the employer normally requires the bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. And so again, we explained with exhibits how this employer naturally requires that just like everybody else. 

We didn’t stop there; five pages of in-depth description of their job duties. We break it down by percentage. Underneath the percentage, we explain overall and specific goals. And so like five or six bullet points underneath each percentage. That’s why it’s so complex; this person needs this degree. It can’t just be done by a high schooler; it can’t be done by somebody without any knowledge or training. It needs to be done by somebody who is trained.

The hardest part of this case is how to argue why the beneficiary who is a landscape architect somehow is qualified to do a UX/UI design. One thing that we just had to do was to get at least one credential evaluation company to find an expert in this field to write a letter recommendation attesting that they know this person and that this person’s education, their experience is equal, if not better, than somebody who trained at a US university. Now, that is incredibly hard. We know because we tried really hard. We contacted three to four major US credential evaluation services; every single one of them said they couldn’t do it, not a chance. 

So that’s when we brought the first team who was working on this case already, we brought all of their research, and we brought all of the client’s background. We took every single one of their classes, and we highlighted them, and we compared them to the duties right as a UX/UI designer. You need to know these softwares; you need to learn how to do these types of design. Look at this landscape architect; you took these classes, and you learned these things. They match; they carry over, right? 

This person didn’t just have a bachelor’s degree; they have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in landscaping. And so there’s a lot of design classes that go into that particular master and major, and a lot of books that they had to read that deal with design concepts and UX and UI. Luckily, UX and UI is extremely broad. It’s about user experience. Well, what is landscaping? It’s about when you walk into a place that you will feel happy in. One sense is on land; another is on the website. You see the similarities once we start breaking it down. And so we meshed everything, and we kept on going back to the credential evaluation. 

Now, we didn’t take no for an answer, right? We worked with the best companies, and so when one person says no, says, “Please let me talk with your manager. I know it’s a very complicated case.” And so we worked very closely with one of the credential evaluation, one of the biggest in the country, and they were like, “Okay, I’m going to try really hard one more time to talk to our experts.” 

They took our research, talked to the experts, and finally, the expert was saying, “Okay, I see the argument now. I could do it.” They wrote the letter, gave it to us; we reviewed everything. It looks good. So we were able to use it as this last page, having an expert in the field of UX and UI design attesting that all the education and all the things that they learned that was equivalent to a US degree. They were able to certify it. We were able to cite them, quote them. And this wasn’t a slam dunk by any means.

I’ve seen plenty of H1B denials disregarding expert opinions, saying you just paid for it, essentially. Not only did we use the expert opinion, and we cited it, but we also showed the reasoning in detail. We did it all in one page with a lot of exhibits. Maybe we did too much, you know? I mean, looking at it, it’s like, do we need 10 companies? I mean, that’s a lot of work. Could we have settled at five? But just in that moment, because there’s so many uncertainties, well, we have the time; we already found five. Just find five more. I don’t know exactly what the officer saw that made them want to ultimately approve this case, which argument it is, but we hit every single one, right? 

Maybe it’s because the officer was like, “Oh my gosh, if I want to deny this case, I have to write this is your argument, and you provided this and this does not meet this, and this is why.” And I have to explain each one of those arguments, right? Like here’s 10 arguments why you need to prove this case. 

If you want to deny, you need to refute all 10. Unlike the prior filing, it’s like you did not provide any evidence to meet this criterion. So I’m denying you. 

We couldn’t have done this case without Grace’s leadership and the business analyst team. So props to Grace and her team. This was a fantastic case. I hope they do this reaction video and give all the details that they did that I completely missed. 

H1B cases, other immigration visa cases will come and go, but these stories and these arguments will last forever, right? And so I hope you enjoyed this video. We’re trying to provide all the strategy to show you guys. So if you are in a similar situation, we might not be able to help you, but you could watch this video, and hopefully, you can help yourself. Take care. Bye-bye.

 

This was an interesting, and challenging, H1B case for a UX/UI designer who actually had both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in landscape architecture. One of the main challenges was explaining how the degrees aligned with the position and had given this applicant the specialized skills required to be able to perform this job better than another candidate. The other main challenge was that this case came to us not for the original filing, but once a Request for Evidence had been received. We needed to provide evidence of almost all the standard H1B requirements when responding to this H1B RFE case.

 

BACKGROUND OF THIS H1B RFE CASE

 

In the beginning we had talked with this client during an initial consultation, but they weren’t able to work with us on the original filing as they needed to work with the company attorney at the time; however, once they received a request for evidence they contacted us again for help with their H1B RFE case. 

The H1B visa is a classification designed for specialty occupations, which has specific requirements that each H1B beneficiary needs to meet. When compiling the H-1B application it’s important to address all of the requirements and how the job, the company, and the beneficiary all meet each of the requirements. If the requirements aren’t addressed in a way that the reviewing officer deems sufficient, this is when you might receive an H-1B RFE or even a denial. In this case, our client received an RFE after their original filing.

CHALLENGES IN THIS CASE

 

There were three main hurdles to overcome for this H1B RFE case for a UX/UI designer. The first was explaining why this H-1B applicant with degrees in landscape architecture was taking a UX/UI designer job and how he had the specialized skills necessary for this position. The second was explaining why a gaming company even needed a UX/UI designer with a degree, and the third challenge was responding to the Request for Evidence (RFE) that this applicant received before coming to us.

 

In the first challenge, we had to explain how the skills required for a landscape architect were very similar to the skills needed for a UX/UI designer and why this applicant had acquired the skills necessary to make him the best fit for this position above any US worker.

 

For the second piece, it was necessary to clarify to USCIS why this gaming company even needed a UX/UI designer with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the first place. We needed to answer questions about the position and skills required to demonstrate how it met the H1B requirements. Do all UX/UI designers need a degree? Do all the designers at this company have a degree? Why is the degree necessary for this type of role?

 

One of the craziest things about this case was the Request for Evidence that our client received. Before they came to us, they had submitted their initial H-1B application and when the request for evidence came back, it basically said you haven’t provided any of the required evidence. You haven’t provided evidence of the skills you possess, you haven’t provided evidence of the specialized skills required for this position, and you haven’t provided evidence that this degree is necessary or common. In essence, this H-1B RFE said you haven’t provided any information as to why this job and this applicant meet the H1B requirements.

 

KEYS TO SUCCESS IN THIS H1B RFE CASE

 

Thoroughly Responding to the RFE

 

When you receive an RFE that essentially says you haven’t given us any of the required information to approve your case, that’s not a good start. To turn this case around we needed to explain in detail how this beneficiary and this UX/UI position met all of the standard H-1B requirements.

 

To do so, created two teams to work on this case to compile all of the evidence. The first team addressed why this gaming company needed a UX/UI designer and why the degree for this position is specialized. 

 

The second team compiled the evidence explaining how this applicant with landscape architecture degrees had the skills necessary to be a UX/UI designer. We went through the previous course of study, compared the knowledge of design and design concepts, and the tools needed to be successful in each position to find all the similarities. Then we documented all of these and provided evidence of this overlap in skillsets.

 

Finding an Expert for a Letter of Recommendation

 

One thing we knew would help in this case was a letter of recommendation from an expert in the field who could say this applicant has all the skills necessary to be more successful in this role than someone who has trained at a US university. This was tough to do. 

We contacted several major US credential evaluation services and we were initially denied by all of them. However, our legal team didn’t give up and created detailed arguments showing the evidence of this position to persuade an expert in the field to write a recommendation letter and validate this client’s education and experience as comparable to a US degree in UX/UI design. Then we went back to the credential evaluation organizations and explained the case again as well as provided all the details we had prepared.

Finally, there was an expert who reviewed everything and said I see the argument, I can attest to this. Once we had this expert letter of recommendation, we included it at the end of the filing. But, not only that, we also included all the details that we had compiled as evidence for this recommendation and we filed everything together.

 

H1B RFE FOR A UX/UI DESIGNER CASE RESULT

 

After we filed the response to this H1B RFE the case was reviewed and it came back approved. This was a huge relief for the client and the entire Tsang & Associates team working on the case was thrilled.

 

LAWYER COMMENTS ON THIS H-1B RFE CASE

 

Anytime you are filing a case whether it is a response to an H1B RFE case or something else, taking the time to provide detailed evidence and support of your case can’t be undervalued. The more information you can provide to support your case the better you can help the officer reviewing your case to gain a better understanding of how all the visa requirements have been met. Telling the full story provides a more clear picture of the situation even if it might be complicated. 

If you need assistance with an H-1B RFE case, you have questions about your H-1B application, or you have questions, you can learn more about our H-1B legal services or contact us. Our immigration team is here to help.

 

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