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It is regarding question H-4B, enter the major field of study required. Our clients often state the requirement in the alternative, such as Computer Science, IT or Math, without one being the primary and the others secondary. Can we list more than one, or are we required to ask the employer to select one and list a second as an alternate field of study in 7A?

Here is a related question I'd like to ask: Employee has 3 year BS in Math from India and 12 or 13 years of IT experience, primarily as a SAP HR consultant/analyst. He has evaluation for equivalent to US BSCS for H-1B purposes. If employer requires Bachelors in CS or IT, or equivalent education and experience, how do we describe it? Do we say Bachelors in H-4, major in H-4B, "alternate combination of education and experience is acceptable" in H-8 (such as 3 years of education and 2 years of experience but that employer will accept any reasonable combination of education and experience) How then do we answer H-8A, B, and C?

In another case, what if employer requires 2 years of training or experience as carpenter/carpenter technician, how do you describe that? Training is an option, but not required. Similarly, experience is an option, not a requirement. Is it easier to skip the training and just go outright with experience?

Answer by Joel Stewart:

1. About listing alternative educational requirements, you can list them anyway you want. Examples would be "Computer Science/IT/Math" (all in one box) or you can chop them up into different boxes. My guess is that if the disciplines are very similar, you would list them in the same box like requiring a degree in "Economics/Finance", and if the jobs are somewhat different conceptually then put them in the separate boxes, "Economics/Finance" in one box and "Hotel Management" in the other box.

2. In the questioner's second question, he asks about H-1B and then refers to H-4, H4B, H-8 and H-8A, B & C. The first reference to H-1B refers to an H-1B visa, and the remaining references to H-4, H4B, H-8, H-8A, B & C refer to the boxes on form 9089. That being said!!!! let's proceed with the answer: This is a real kettle of fish. You have to analyze the questions in "H", the instructions for the questions, prior labor certification experience, and your background/knowledge of DOL decisions on these and related issues.

H-4 "other" refers to anything that is not in the preceding boxes, i.e., post high school, technical, vocational SVP kind of training/education...H-4 does not refer to High School, ASsociate's, Bachelor's, Master's or Doctorate.

Remember that you can qualify your client for 3rd preference skilled worker by requiring two years experience, a Bachelor's degree or two years post secondary education/training. Box H-4 gives you the chance to list the post secondary education/training.

Box H 4-B gives you a chance to put one (or more) major fields, like "Economics" or "Economics/Finance".

Item 7-A gives you another chance to put the alternate field of study.

The trick between H-4B and 7A is to separate closely related fields of study (can be put in H-4B) and more distantly related fields of study (can be put in 7-A).

Alternatively, if you feel uncomfortable combining fields of study in H-4B, you can just put the primary one in H-4B and combine the others in 7A.

Questions 8, 8-A and 8-B, and 8-C give you a chance to require a different kind of preparation, for example, a degree instead of experience, and you would treat the boxes the same was as in the previous examples....8B could have multiple titles like "Economics/Finance".

The final question from the questioner is about the carpenter/carpenter technician, and I would handle that by following the concepts in Kellogg -- you can require experience in the principal job or in the alternate job by showing that the alternative requirements meet the definition in PERM under 656.17(g)(4)(i) "alternative experience requirements must be substantially equivalent to the primary requirements" and 656.17(g)(4()(ii) "any suitable combination of education, training, or experience" as acceptable, if the alien is already employed by the employer.

It appears that there is no place on the form to write "any suitable combination of education, training or experience is acceptable..." so that the letter of this law can be met by broadening the alternate requirements to include any suitable combination...." and by answering "yes" to each question in "H" regarding alternate experience, education and training.

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