Refusal rates for H-1B petitions soared to 24% in the third quarter of fiscal 2019, according to new analysis from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) of data from Citizenship and Citizenship Services. United States Immigration (USCIS). In other words, it looks like the Trump administration is cracking down on companies that apply for H-1B visas. But which companies are getting hammered the most?
“In the first three quarters of fiscal 2019, USCIS arbitrators rejected 24% of H-1B claims for ‘initial’ employment and 12% of H-1B claims for ‘continuing’ employment,” we read in the NFAP report (PDF). “The 12% refusal rate for job retention is also historically high – 4 times higher than the refusal rate of just 3% for H-1B requests for job retention as recently as l ‘fiscal year 2015. ” (To the curious, “initial job” means H-1B requests for a new job, while “job retention” is usually an extension for an existing employee.)
As you might expect, the NFAP suggests that these increased denial rates are directly related to USCIS ‘application of a stricter legal standard with respect to these H-1B petitions. “USCIS has systematically rewritten the H-1B visa rules, disrespecting the law, and destroying any sense of predictability in the system,” Jonathan Wasden, a lawyer who is suing the USCIS, told the organization. USCIS on behalf of employers.
USCIS issued Requests for Additional Evidence (RFEs) 60% of the time during the first quarter of fiscal 2019, a number that has dropped to 40% in subsequent quarters, but is still significantly higher than ” historic rate “of 20% for RFEs. Consult this table to find out which companies have their initial job applications refused:
One thing is really clear: Consulting and business services companies are bearing the brunt of the new paradigm. “At least 12 companies that provide professional or IT services to other US companies, including Accenture, Capgemini and others, have experienced rejection rates above 30% in the first three quarters of fiscal 2019” , adds the report. “Most of these businesses had rejection rates between 2% and 7% in fiscal 2015.”
In a statement to Mother Jones, a USCIS spokesperson called the agency’s reforms “designed to protect American workers, reduce frivolous petitions, increase the transparency of employment-based visa programs, and improve the integrity of the immigration petitions process ”.
As the Trump administration tightens its restrictions on the H-1B visa, many companies are responding to the restrictions by outsourcing their work to offices in other countries. At least that’s the theory of Britta Glennon, a professor at the Wharton School of Business, who wrote in a recent article:
“Firms were more likely to open new foreign affiliates abroad in response [to H-1B restrictions], and employment increased in existing foreign affiliates. The effect is strongest among R & D-intensive firms in sectors where services could more easily be outsourced. The effect was somewhat concentrated geographically: the employment of foreign affiliates increased both in countries like India and China with large amounts of highly skilled human capital and in countries like Canada with strong policies. more flexible high-skilled immigration and closer geographic proximity. “
Indeed, reports earlier this year suggested that companies were looking to open offices in Canada rather than dealing with the unpredictability associated with the US government’s H-1B policies. Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues to tighten these policies: for example, USCIS recently began polling companies about the type of work H-1B visa recipients will do, such as supplier agreements, subcontractors and project lists. Based on the data trends, it seems clear that this higher rate of denials will continue at least until the end of the Trump administration, causing some companies serious suffering.