USCIS Increase in Denials and RFEs for H1Bs and L-1s13 Sep 2018
A report released by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) has provided an analysis of the sharp increase in denials and requests for evidence (RFE) for H1B and L-1 petitions due to new federal policies on immigration. According to the report, the denial rate for H1B petitions increased by 41 percent from the 3rd to the 4th quarter of fiscal year 2017 (FY17), which ran from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017. The number of requests for evidence (RFEs) in the fourth quarter of FY17 almost equaled the total number issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicators for the first three quarters of FY17 combined. The data further shows that the increased rate of denials has hit Indian national applicants especially hard.
Background: Changes to Policy Under the Trump Administration
The Trump Administration has made several official and unofficial changes that have resulted in a more arduous legal immigration process. For example, a February 22, 2018 memorandum related to offsite employment of H1B workers has resulted in a vast number of RFEs seeking contracts and statements of work. The USCIS also seems to be questioning if the H1B petitioner’s offered job positions are in specialty occupations at a higher rate than in previous years.
NFAP Article Confirms this Trend, Especially for Indian Nationals
The NFAP article outlines a sharp rise in denials and RFEs for H1B petitions, especially for Indian citizens. The data documents how the Trump Administration is limiting the admission of high-skilled foreign nationals for this category. For instance, the overall denial rate for H1B petitions rose from 14 percent in the third quarter of FY17 to nearly 19.6 percent in the fourth quarter. For H1B petitions filed for people born in India, the denial rate increased from 16.6 percent to 23.6 percent.
For L1B petitions, the overall rate of denial increased from 21.7 percent in the first quarter of FY17 to 28.7 percent by the fourth quarter. For Indian nationals being sponsored for L1B positions, the increase in denials was even more dramatic. Over the course of FY17, the denial rate for L1B petitions filed for Indians jumped from 36 percent to a whopping 48 percent denial rate.
The information contained in this report is hardly surprising. The Trump Administration’s focus on limiting all types of legal immigration, made clear the President’s April 18, 2017 “Buy American and Hire American” executive order, is making the process of petitioning or applying for all types of immigration benefits more difficult.
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