H-1B Visa Denial Rates Return to Pre-Trump Levels

H-1B Visa

According to a report by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), H-1B visa denial rates have significantly declined after court decisions and a legal settlement ended the Trump administration’s restrictive immigration policies.

The denial rate for new H-1B visas petitions for initial employment in fiscal year (FY) 2021 decreased to four percent, compared to the denial rate of 24 percent in FY 2018, 21 percent in FY 2019, and 13 percent in FY 2020.

The changes began in the fourth quarter of FY 2020, after judges declared the Trump administration’s policies were illegal in a legal settlement with business group ITServe Alliance. For nearly four years, the Trump administration managed to implement what judges said to be unlawful policies, which imposed substantial costs on employers, visa holders, and the U.S. economy as a whole, contributing to other countries getting more work and talent.

The lower denial rates continued through FY 2021 since the Biden administration accepted the legal settlement and declined to introduce any new restrictions. The low denial rates in FY 2021 demonstrate the Trump administration’s anti-immigration approach were merely an abnormality because of the unlawful and restrictive policies enforced by the former president.

In addition, the denial rate for the H-1B petition for continuing employment was two percent in FY 2021, which is much lower than the 12 percent denial rate in FY 2018 and FY 2019, as well as the lowest level since the data on H-1B denial rates became available.

The main reason for the rise in denials for continuing employment during the Trump administration was because of an October 2017 memo that told adjudicators to not “give deference to the findings of a previously approved petition.” Therefore, many H-1B extensions were reviewed under a more restrictive standard, which judges later found to be unlawful.

However, there are still many challenges employers and high-skilled foreign nationals must face. In March 2021, employers filed more than 300,000 H-1B visas applications for only 85,000 spots available under FY 2022 visa cap, which means the U.S government denied over 70 percent of H-1B applications before an adjudicator can review the petitions.

The NFAP analysis concluded that high-skilled workers faced more restrictive immigration policies in the U.S. compared to other countries with which the U.S. competes for talent. Additionally, another significant problem is restrictive policies toward employment-based green cards.

If you are interested in applying for or renewing your H-1B visa in Coppell, TX, or within the surrounding area, call Nathan Christensen P.C. at (972) 497-1017 or fill out our online contact form today to request a consultation. Se habla Español.

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