H-1B Visa Denial Rate Drops

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer January 24, 2022
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USCIS office

​The denial rate for new H-1B visa petitions fell to 4 percent in fiscal year (FY) 2021, far lower than the rate of 24 percent in FY 2018, 21 percent in FY 2019 and 13 percent in FY 2020, according to a new report from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

The report is based on data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The FY 2020 denial rate would have been higher if not for a legal settlement (ITServe Alliance, Inc. v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and court rulings that "ended the Trump administration's restrictive policies," said Stuart Anderson, executive director of the NFAP.

We've rounded up articles from SHRM Online and other outlets to provide more context on the news.

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The low H-1B denial rate in FY 2021 reveals a stark contrast with the years of the Trump administration. "The denial rates in FY 2021 and FY 2015 were similar for employers, meaning the Trump years were an aberration due to imposing restrictive policies that courts found to be unlawful," Anderson said.

Denial rates for H-1B workers' continuing employment were also elevated during the Trump administration. Much of the increase in denials for continuing employment during the Trump administration was due to an October 2017 memo that instructed adjudicators to no longer give deference to the findings of a previously approved petition, Anderson said. The Biden administration has since rescinded the memo.

(Forbes)

H-1B Interest Rebounds in 2021

Employers in the U.S. submitted H-1B cap registrations for 308,613 workers for fiscal year 2022, a 12 percent increase over the previous year's filing season.

(SHRM Online)

H-1B Visa Petitions Fell in 2020

By the time employers were notified of the H-1B visa lottery's results on April 1, 2020, the U.S. economy was devastated, as businesses were shuttered to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Consequently, for the first time in years, the number of petitions eventually filed did not meet the annual cap of 85,000.

(SHRM Online)

Biden Administration Plans Big Changes to H-1B Program

The Biden administration's latest regulatory plans reveal that it will continue to advance Trump-era proposals to reform the H-1B visa program for professional workers, including raising the wages of those workers.

(SHRM Online)

The Employer's Guide to H-1B Cap Season

In this program, you'll learn about key considerations for this year's H-1B cap season and guidance for employers preparing for the visa application period.

(SHRM Webcast)

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