Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram


O-1B High Salary

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O1-B High Salary Editorial:
 The series covers the  O-1B visa category for ‘High Salary or Other Substantial Remuneration’. We will start with the actual official wording of this category, which is: –

A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, in the past or the future, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.

The O-1B visa adjudicator will be looking objective documentation – such as employment contracts, pay slips and tax returns or even an accountant’s letter of support if your financial affairs are less than straightforward – that enumerates your salary package and how it compares to other professionals in the field. Additionally, US Immigration will compare your earnings to other professionals working in the same country as you.

For many professionals applying for the O-1B visa, the job offer in the United States may carry a significant remuneration package, and for this visa application we can submit evidence of a future high salary based on the offer of employment.

Determining whether or not your salary qualifies you to satisfy this category, we must undertake a methodical approach. Knowing that your salary is or will be higher than most is not enough – we must be able to prove it with reliable documentation.

This presentation is unique as it will walk you through  a number of US resources you can use to independently verify that your earnings are or will be significantly higher than others working in your field.

If your income has in the past or will be above the American top earners in your field then we know you will be in good shape in terms of satisfying this category as American wages tend to be higher than many others around the world.

Once the adjudicator has established what your actual annual or ‘per project’ pay is, this income is compared with a variety of independent salary bureau statistical reports that are available online to see where your income measures on these charts.

O-1B High Salary Commentary:

For O-B1 visa purposes, your main focus of inquiry will be to determine the Prevailing Wage (see below). However, I’ve outlined in some detail how to define your job within this database too, as this will help you determine the right pay for your job. I’d also like to point out that in many countries pay scales are much lower than they are in the US. Therefore, you can use O*Net as a guide, but also take the time to find an equivalent database for your own country and compare. This having been said, if you’re earning more than an American in the same field, then you’re going to be in great shape no matter what.

Example 1: If you go to the Career Cluster window there is a drop down window. Click on that and then select ‘Business, Management and Administration’.

Once you enter, you’ll then be given a list of jobs that come under that category. Select the first one listed ‘Computer Operators’ – (you will also notice that each job has a number. The reference number for a ‘Computer Operator’ is 43-9011.00. This number can be used on other similar websites).

If you click on the ‘Computer Operators’ option you will then be taken to a ‘Summary Report’ that basically describes in detail what ‘Computer Operators’ do.

Scroll down this page until you get to the section called ‘Job Zone’, and under that section you want to focus on the areas, the ‘Education’, ‘Job Training’ section and the ‘SVP Range’.

For the ‘Education’ section, it says in essence that only a modest amount of education is required, perhaps an Associate Degree, which is half a BA degree.  For the ‘Job Training’ section you want to see some commentary that indicates that a BA degree or extensive training/experience is usually required for this job.  In this example, for ‘Computer Operators’ only one to two years training is required.

For O-1B visa applicants whether or not your particular job requires a degree is not that significant, especially in the Media and Entertainment fields where many of the jobs rely more on talent and ability rather than academic qualifications. This outline has been drafted to cater to a broad spectrum of employment, but at the end of the day, we’re looking to measure pay more than anything else for this O1 visa category. Under the ‘SVP Range’ section, this is an indicator as to the degree of skill required for the job. For BA level and above, you really want the SVP range to be 7 – 8+. In this example, the SVP range is 6-7.  Therefore, this is not a particularly skillful job.

Example 2: If you go back to the ‘Business, Management and Administration’ home page and this time select Financial Manager’ (11-3031.02). If you go to the ‘Job Zone’ section you will notice under the ‘Education’, ‘Job Training Requirements’ and ‘SVP indicators’, it’s very clear that this is a position for senior personnel with a BA or equivalent, and the job range is between 7-8. So you can research any job and see whether or not the job you’re doing now or have been offered has a high skill level requirement.

Prevailing Wage Issues: – The O*Net online site also provides you with good information about what the pay scale in the US is for each job. For O1 visa purposes you want to see whether or not your income is at or above the 90th Percentile (top 10%). If it is, then you could be one step closer to your O1 visa goal.

Example 3: If you go back to the ‘Financial Manager’’ job (11-3031.02), but this time scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will see that the ‘Median Wage’, (average wage), is $99,330. [This may have increased by the time you reference this page]  If you scroll down a little further, you’ll see a link where you can enter a State name. If you enter ‘New York’ you’ll be taken to a page that provides you with a more detailed breakdown as to the lowest – highest pay scales. There is another website called the ‘Foreign Labor Data Certification Center’ that provides wage information on a city-by-city basis. This is an excellent resource to further narrow down pay determinations.

Conclusion: The goal of this exercise is to help you determine whether your income could be considered as being high in comparison to others. If so, you could potentially satisfy another O1 visa category.  This outline should help you determine whether your income can be considered as being high in comparison to Americans. But don’t forget if your country’s salaries are typically lower then send me evidence from a similar database how your income compares in your own country.

We hope you found this presentation not only informative but inspirational too. Our goal is to inspire our clients into action and continued success. Take some time to review our testimonials; we’re looking forward to adding many more. Maybe yours will be featured there one day, so you too can be an inspiration to others. We’ll be waiting for your call.  In the next presentation, we’re going to review the ‘Other Comparable Evidence’ category.

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
Santa Monica,
California 90401
Tel: 442 244 4350

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