Record high H-1B denials could cause hole in workplace

Over 20% of H-1B Visas Denied in 2019

In the fiscal year (FY) 2019, 116,031 new or initial H-1B petitions were submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Of those petitions, 27,707 were denied – meaning just under one-quarter of all H-1B applications were denied in 2019. 

When compared to levels in 2015, the rates of denials have risen exponentially.

Comparing 2019 H-1B Denial Rates to 2015

Fiscal year 2015 is often used for comparison because it is one of the lowest denial rates in the past five years, and marks the last year before President Trump was sworn into office.

In FY 2015, the denial rate was only 6% in the first quarter. By comparison, the denial rate in the first quarter of FY 2019 was 32%. According to some experts, these numbers make it “clear to attorneys [that] USCIS has acted without proper legal authority in restricting H-1B visas.”

Part of the change is attributed to President Trump’s 2017 executive order, which has been dubbed the “Buy American and Hire American” order. The executive order encouraged and required agencies to look for ways to create higher wages, employment rates, and economic growth within the United States, without looking to other countries to employ workers or create products. In FY 2017, the denial rates rose from 10% to 13%, and in FY 2018, they increased again to 24%.

For example, U.S. immigration practitioners have seen H-1B petitions that would have normally been approved in past years are now denied under USCIS’ current practice of using narrower interpretations of what constitutes a “specialty occupation.”

The Impact of High Denial Rates

With denial rates at record high levels, various industries, including technology sectors, have felt a serious impact on their employment and operations. In India, for example, the four largest software service exporters have seen roughly half of all of their work visas denied in the past year. These companies, including Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, HCL Technologies, and Wipro will have to look elsewhere for avenues to secure visas for their workers.

Traditionally, Indian nationals made up for roughly 70 percent of all H-1B visas issued. Additionally, Indian nationals also account for almost 93 percent of all Employment Authorization Documents issued to H-4 visas, as spouses of H-1B beneficiaries. It is unclear whether those numbers have changed since their last reported date in 2017, but they could very well be significantly altered in the near future.

The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) noted: “If the goal of the Trump administration is to make it much more difficult for well-educated foreign nationals to work in America in technical fields, then USCIS is accomplishing that goal.” 

However, the impact of this new policy could create serious holes in the American workforce. NFAP stated: “Whether the actions of USCIS are serving the best interests of the United States is a question that will remain open for debate.”

Get Help From an H-1B Visa Lawyer

Because of increased scrutiny, it is even more important that employers follow the application process very closely. David Hirson & Partners, LLP, can help with that process, increasing your company’s chance of getting an H-1B petition approved. 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an appointment to discuss your options. 

Tel: +1-949-383-5358                Web: www.Hirson.com               Email: info@hirson.com

This blog post is general information and is not legal advice.

Preparing for the upcoming FY2021 H-1B Cap Season

Preparing for the Upcoming FY2021 H-1B Cap Season

As of April 1, 2020, the yearly slots available for the H-1B employment visa for specialty occupations will become available. These visas are exclusively for “specialty occupations,” and the available allotment is expected to be much lower than demand, as has been the trend for many years.

Because of the high demand for H-1B visas, employers are encouraged to identify employees or prospective employees who may need an H-1B visa now, to get started on the application process. 

Having everything ready will help get your application submitted as soon as an H-1B applicant is selected from this year’s new H-1B registration-lottery system and the application submission window opens to submit required paperwork.

Who Qualifies for an H-1B Visa?

When assessing company needs, employers may consider the following types of employees as good candidates for H-1B visas as long as the potential new employee is qualified to work in a specialty occupation:

1. F-1 visa students with degrees that are required to work in a specialty occupation

2. L-1 employees experiencing long green card delays

3. Former J-1 trainees who you would like to retain on a more permanent basis

Keep in mind that H-1B visas are specifically for “graduate-level” workers (meaning a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher or the foreign equivalent) in specialty occupations. These occupations require expertise that is not necessary for other types of jobs. 

(Note: Certain foreign workers who are working with the U.S. Department of Defense may qualify to apply for H-1B2 visas while individuals who are international fashion models of prominence may apply for H-1B3 visas.)

Typical H-1B fields include:

  • Technology
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Science 
  • Medicine
  • Engineering 
  • Architecture

Starting the process now will put you in a good position to apply when the flood gates open at the end of March.  

H-1B Caps in FY2021: What to Expect

Keep in mind that anyone who does not get a slot in the current lottery will have to wait to apply for available spaces next year. 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented its new registration system this year, which will affect H-1B visas obtained in FY2021. 

Under this new system, there is no need to submit a full application before the lottery. Instead, employers will only need to submit a simple online registration for each employee.

This year’s initial registration period will be from March 1 through March 20, 2020.

Once the submissions reach 85,000, the USCIS will conduct a computer-generated lottery to select registrants. If an employee is selected, the employer must submit a complete H-1B application within the next 90 days.

Preparing for FY2021 H-1B Registration

The new H-1B registration system requires employers to electronically register in order to be able to submit a registration for the H-1B visa in FY2021. 

The employer must also pay the new $10 registration fee for each H-1B beneficiary employee that is registered. The registration period is set to open March 1, and employers should create a game plan with a licensed immigration attorney so that everything will be ready at the appropriate time.

Get Help with an H-1B Visa Application

To learn more about what you should do to get electronically registered and prepare for H-1B registration this March, give our team a call now to schedule a consultation. 

David Hirson & Partners, LLP, can walk you through all of the steps you need to get ready for submitting your H1-B registration today. 

Tel: +1-949-383-5358                Web: www.Hirson.com               Email: info@hirson.com

This blog post is general information and is not legal advice.

H-1B Visa Program: Upcoming Deadline and Info You Need to Know

One of the most desirable visa programs, and the one perhaps most familiar to both foreigners and U.S. citizens, is the H-1B visa. This is often referred to as the “work visa” because it is utilized by those brought into the U.S. as employees for companies in specialty fields. In order to come into the U.S. under an H-1B visa, the applicant must have been offered a position in a qualifying occupation. The specialty job offered must require at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree (or equivalent). The offered wage must be at the prevailing wage for that occupation in its given location. Our immigration attorneys can assist you by advising on obtaining the prevailing wage rate as well as evaluating the offered position to see if it qualifies as a specialty occupation.

 

These occupations are primarily in technical and professional employment fields, such as information technology, finance, banking, teaching, engineering, and business. The applicant must show that they have the appropriate credentials for such a position as well as employer sponsorship. There are many hoops to jump through in order to obtain approval, and the paperwork can be technical. There is also a yearly deadline for applications. This year, the H-1B visa petition must be submitted no later than March 31, 2018 in order to arrive at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ offices on April 2, 2018, the first day of H-1B petitions being accepted.

 

Each year the number of applications approved through the H-1B visa program is capped, although there is some flexibility. For instance, this year the cap is 65,000, however, certain applicants can also apply for one of the additional 20,000 application spots that are only available to international students who have graduated from a U.S. school with an master’s degree or higher. In addition, the H-1B cap does not apply to certain applicants sponsored by non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and government research organizations.

 

Business immigration programs are a valuable way for the U.S. to get skilled workers while qualified foreigners obtain a legal way to live in the U.S. The H-1B visa program is especially desirable because it also offers a path to permanent residency, and the applicants are allowed to have a “dual intent.” This “dual intent” means that an applicant will not be screened for and denied a visa if they exhibit an intent to stay in the U.S. and become a permanent resident. They may also bring their family (spouse and unmarried children under age 21). In contrast, non- “dual intent” visas may not allow applicants to come into the U.S. for a temporary period of time and then decide that they want to stay permanently.

 

David Hirson & Partners, LLP, is an experienced business immigration law firm assisting clients in obtaining a wide variety of visas, including the H-1B visa. Contact us today for help with your application process.

 

 

Telephone: (949) 383-5358      Email: info@hirson.com      Website: www.hirson.com