Recent rulings by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) confirms that entry-level positions meeting only level 1 wage is still appropriate for entry-level H-1B positions.
In Matter of B-C-, Inc., (AAO Jan. 25, 2018), the petitioner, a geotechnical and geophysical engineering consulting firm, filed an H-1B petition for a geotechnical engineer-in-training. The Vermont Service Center (VSC) denied the petition and justified the decision by arguing that the petitioner's classification of the proffered position as a level 1 wage was incorrect. On appeal, the petitioner asserted that the proffered position is an entry-level and, therefore, a level 1 wage is appropriate.
The AAO agreed with the petitioner and ruled that level 1 wage is properly classified for an entry level position as the proffered position does not require experience, education, special skills, or supervisory duties beyond those listed in the related O*NET occupation. Thus, the petitioner has demonstrated that the submitted LCA for level 1 corresponds to the petition.
Importantly, the AAO noted that “…There is no inherent inconsistency between an entry-level position and a specialty occupation. For some occupations, the "basic understanding" that warrants a Level I wage may require years of study, duly recognized upon the attainment of a bachelor's degree in a specific specialty. Most professionals start their careers in what are deemed entry-level positions. That doesn't preclude us from identifying a specialty occupation. …Wage levels are relevant, and we will assess them to ensure the LCA "corresponds with" the H -1 B petition. But wage is only one factor and does not by itself define or change the character of the occupation.”