Small Company Designer H-1B Approved during Pandemic
Nationality: Eastern European countries
Applicant (U.S. employer): Apparel design studio
Beneficiary (expatriate employee): Allison
Position: Fashion Designer
08/20/2020 File H-1B extension petition
08/27/2020 Immigration Receipt
10/05/2020 Case successfully approved, no addendum
– The fashion industry has lower educational requirements for designer positions, with more emphasis on practical experience and creativity, and it is difficult to gather materials to prove that companies of the same type and size must require a bachelor degree.
– (a) USCIS generally considers the educational threshold for apparel designers to be low, so the standard of review for H-1Bs in this position is very stringent and the pass rate is extremely low.
– Employees in the same position in the company do not have a bachelor ‘s degree.
– The employer lacks a clear development plan for the position, and Allison’s job description is relatively tri vial and not as clear in its professional breakdown as a larger company.
– Employers are very small and are losing money under the epidemic, and may lay off employees at any time; surrendering their offices, resulting in the return of notices sent to employers by the immigration authorities.
– The H-1B wage rate is increasing every year, and the need to pay at the H-1B rate despite the epidemic poses a challenge to employers.
Allison’s H-1B petition was filed in 2017 by Tsang & Associates, a Los Angeles-based apparel studio, which was granted a three-year extension after a lenient H-1B review standard and an RFE. The apparel studio approached Joseph Tsang, an attorney, about the company’s plight, but offered to try to help Allison with her extension.
Starting in 2018 USCIS has increased the standards for H-1B petitions step by step. The petitioning practices and information requirements of 3 years ago no longer apply to extensions. Therefore, Tsang & Associates finally abandoned the regular model of 2017 and customized Allison’s H-1B petition according to the 2019 H-1B filing requirements and processing standards, deconstructing the apparel design position from a technical perspective.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
USCIS has little knowledge of the fashion industry profession and believes that the barriers to entry are low and that designers do rely more on experience and work. Therefore, we had to demonstrate that Allison’s position as a “fashion designer” required a high level of academic and professional skills, and that the entry barrier to the studio was high. We therefore decided to analyze her work from a technical point of view, abandoning traditional statistics and highlighting the specificity of her position.
Key point 1: Point out the special nature of Allison’s designer position, thus proving the technical difficulty
Allison’s studio is in a growth phase, and she joined the company to serve the needs of product expansion and rejuvenation, so her position is more technically demanding than other positions of the same type, and her work is relatively complex and heavy.
Using this as the main breakthrough, we dismantled her job description and submitted supporting materials to support it. We analyzed Allison’s employer’s development plan and her work product, exhaustively listing over 40 job titles and naming the technology software required to demonstrate that her position relies heavily on digital technology and computers, in addition to her design knowledge skills.
Key Point 2: Demonstrate that Allison’s professionalism qualifies her for her position
This item was proving difficult because the INS knew very little about the fashion industry, so we had to provide a sufficient amount of evidence to support our argument. After tens of hours of research and discussion among several attorneys, we decided to demystify the fashion industry by looking at the industry’s development. We submitted market reports and articles by fashion industry scholars to demonstrate that the fashion industry has been evolving and that the bar has been raised so that most of the young designers graduating in recent years are proficient in their undergraduate studies and have extensive digital skills.
Very fortunately, Allison has an outstanding resume to prove our point. She had excellent grades in school, was an honors graduate, and even though she had limited experience, her resume presented relatively well. Therefore, we went on to submit Allison’s complete transcripts and portfolio of work from her time as a student, clearly demonstrating that she has excellent design skills, is proficient in the software technology required to design, and can meet the requirements of her position.
Key Point 3: Employer Situation Remediation
In response to the plight of the small company in 2020, we looked at their partners and the investment they were negotiating to bring in, proving that the plight was only temporary and that the studio could survive the difficult times with their existing business partnerships and ability to attract capital. Allison’s background is a good fit for the company’s development needs, so it is necessary to extend her H-1B.
Tsang & Associates finally prepared a thousand-page H-1B petition for Allison, sent the petition on August 20, 2020, received the petition on August 27, and received the approval letter directly from USCIS on October 5, 2020, with no additional documents. Both the owner and Allison were very excited to learn the good news and thanked us for all the efforts and efforts we put in for their work visa extensions over the past few months. Our professional service and experience, and our rigorous and thorough style of work, made the employer immediately express their willingness to continue to entrust Allison’s EB-2 case to Tsang & Associates to help the company retain good talent.
The new H-1B lottery policy will change in 2021, with wage requirements becoming more stringent and therefore the petition status more unpredictable. Therefore, applicants need to understand the policy more thoroughly and provide sound documents to ensure that their applications are approved. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us. Whether you are applying for the first time, changing companies, or applying for an extension, we can provide you with professional advice and considerate service based on your situation.
*To protect customer privacy, customer names are pseudonyms.
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