Even highly skilled foreign workers being sponsored by the best companies in North Carolina and elsewhere in the United States are having their H-2B visa applications denied at very high rates. Thus far, there has been no real explanation as to why.
Trump Administration to make it difficult for businesses
It appears that the goal for the Trump Administration is to make it more difficult for businesses that wish to employ foreign-born engineers and scientists. However, a recent court ruling may mean lower denial rates by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the future.
What the studies show about visa denials
Studies looked at the denial rate for first-time H-1B visa applications from the top 25 employers of foreign-born workers. All of them show a significant increase in denials over the rates for 2015, the year before the current administration took office. These top 25 employers include companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Of the top 25 employers, 20 had denial rates at least 10% higher than previously reported.
Information technology companies hit the hardest
Technology companies that provide data services appear to be those among the hardest hit. Cisco, Google and Microsoft were among the hardest hit by initial H-1B visa denials. It appears that USCIS has established separate standards for approving visas for information technology companies. However, immigration law does not specify different procedures based on a firm’s location or type of work.
When compared to 2015 denial rates, the 2020 rates were over 20% higher for 10 top companies that provide IT services. In 2015, the rates for denial ranged from 1 to 5% for these companies. In 2020, the rates soared to as much as 35%.
Detecting this trend has been difficult because USCIS typically co-mingles the data from initial applications with continuing applications, which have a lower denial rate. However, in separating out the initial application data from the continuing application data revealed the upswing in the initial employment denial rates. Now that this has been revealed, legal action may be pending on behalf of these information technology companies.