Decline in H-1B Visa Approval Rates

By February 28, 2019December 2nd, 2020Immigration
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Last week, USCIS published data showing increases in the number of Request for Evidence (RFE) and denials issued for H-1B Visa applications. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits a company to hire workers in specialty occupations. This visa category requires that the beneficiary (the foreign worker) have a Bachelor’s degree, and the Petitioner (the U.S. company) can employ the worker for up to six years. This is a very popular visa because unlike many other non-immigrant visas that make applying for a green card very difficult and require foreign workers to maintain a residence in their home country, the H-1B visa permits for “dual intent.”  This dual intent allows one to apply for a green card while in the U.S. without running into problems.

According to the published data, around 60% of companies that applied on behalf of foreign workers received RFEs in the last quarter of 2018, compared to 46% in 2017, and 28% in 2016. The approval rate decreased from 92% in 2016, to 83% in 2017, to 75% in 2018. This trend started after the Trump Administration’s pledge to “Buy American, Hire American”, with the USCIS director promising stricter vetting in the immigration system and policies to protect U.S. workers. USCIS will also be rolling out changes to the H-1B application process for the upcoming Cap Season in April to ensure advanced degree applicants have a higher chance of winning the lottery. Although the highly anticipated lottery registration system will wait until next year.  To learn more about H-1B visa requirements, please click here, to learn more about other options for working in the United States, please click here.

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