One in five H-1B petitions denied in 2019: NFAP



Rejection rate for continuing H-1B employment four times higher than in 2015 before Trump took over.

President Donald Trump may have talked great things about valuing India and Indian talent while visiting the country last month. But when it comes to showing it, precious little is reflected in real statistics.

The National Foundation for American Policy’s just released brief for fiscal year 2019 shows increased denials for H-1B petitions continue significantly.

According to the NFAP analysis of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data, there was a 21% denial of all H-1B petitions submitted in 2019.

Contrast this figure with a denial rate that was just 6% in 2015 and you will know the effect restrictive Trump policies continue to have on professionals.

The brief highlights that in 2019 while USCIS denied 21% of H-1B petitions for initial employment, there was also a 12% denial rate for continuing employment.

The denial rate in 2019 remains the same as it was in 2018. The similar denial rates for continuing employment indicates that the high scrutiny and restrictive granting of visas continued through the years.

It must be noted that back in 2015, the rejection rate for continuing employment was just put at 3%, making the current numbers a historical high.

The brief states that rejection for continuing employment today is four times higher than in 2015, just before the Trump administration took over.

ALSO READ: DHS announces additional $10 fee for H1-B electronic registration (September 3, 2019)

The 21% denial rate in 2019 is a bit lower than the 2018 denial rate which stood at 24%. But compared with a denial rate that stood at  just 6% in 2015, it is clear that we are looking at historically high rejections in current times.

The brief also highlights that USCIS has changed the standards for adjudications without a change in the law or new USCIS regulations.

In particular, USCIS is treating H-1B petitions differently based on whether an employee will perform work at a customer’s site.

READ MORE: On H-1B day, a new report urges Congress to increase the H1-B cap (April 2, 2019)

The denial rate for initial employment increased by 20 percentage points or more for at least 10 major companies between FY 2015 and FY 2019.

A comparison with previous data indicates the Trump administration has changed the standards for adjudications too.

The denial rate for H-1B petitions for initial employment was 6% in FY 2015 and as low 5% in FY 2012, compared to 24% in FY 2018 and 21% in FY 2019.

Similarly, the denial rate for H-1B petitions for continuing employment was 3% between FY 2011 and FY 2015, and rose to 12% in FY 2018 and FY 2019.

A USCIS memo instructing adjudicators to no longer give deference to prior determinations put many long-time employees at risk of being forced to leave the US after an H-1B petition is denied.


Anti-H-1B group sues the federal government to seek data from USCIS (April 20, 2018)

Trump administration may soon end H-4 Visa Rule: report (February 1, 2018)

Stronger economy may lead to more H-1B petitions (January 22, 2018)

Tech industry urges USCIS not to cancel H-4 spouses’ work permits (January 19, 2018)

Chuck Grassley again denounces H-1B visa program (January 18, 2018)

USCIS says it’s not ending H-1B visa extensions (January 9, 2018)

Proposed move to end H-1B extensions may affect up to 400,000 Indians in US (January 2, 2018)

DHS mulling major change to H-1B visa program (January 2, 2018)

Trump signs H-1B visa executive order ‘Buy American and Hire American’ (April 19, 2017)

Trump to sign executive order to overhaul H-1B visa program on Tuesday (April 18, 2017)

One Comment

  1. Alex Gorman

    How about denial of five out of five for H-1B?

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