ACBA
The state Bar of California
Asian American Bar Association
American Immigration Lawyers Association
ATLA
Expertise
Expertise 2021

H-1B Visas Are Becoming Increasingly Difficult to Obtain

Employers in California and around the country are finding it increasingly difficult to hire highly skilled foreign workers through the H-1B visa program. The program was put into place to ensure that American companies are able to fill positions that require specialized skills or knowledge when suitably qualified candidates cannot be found locally. In 2015, only 6% of H-1B visa applications were denied. That figure has since grown to 24% according to the National Foundation for American Policy.

Obtaining an H-1B visa started to get more difficult shortly after President Trump signed the ‘Buy American and Hire American” executive order in April 2017. Denial rates are now three times higher than they were at any time between 2010 and 2015. Employers in the technology sector are finding it especially difficult to secure H-1B visas for foreign workers, which has led many experts to conclude that the Trump administration is singling the field out.

Information and technology companies that previously experienced H-1B denial rates of between 2% and 7% are now seeing almost one in three of their applications denied according to the NFAP. The non-partisan research organization says that adjudicators are now denying applications when questions arise instead of making Requests for Evidence. Foreign workers who have obtained H-1B visas are also having problems. In 2015, only 3% of the H-1B visa holders who applied to have their stays in the United States extended were denied. Adjudicators are now denying 12% of these requests.

The NAFP analysis reveals that H-1B visa adjudicators are denying applications rather than giving employers the opportunity to correct paperwork errors or deficiencies. Attorneys with experience in employment immigration cases could help companies to ensure that their applications are completed correctly and submitted properly. Attorneys could also assist companies to gather additional documentation when adjudicators issue Requests for Evidence.

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