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Companies struggle with current H-1B visa policies

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is continuing its trend of high rates of H-1B visa denials. The denials are in line with stated intentions by President Donald Trump regarding immigration and spell trouble for companies in Louisiana and across the nation that depend on highly skilled foreign nationals to operate.

A quick analysis of immigration numbers for the second quarter of 2020 reveals that higher rates of H-1B denials happened than in the years before Trump took over as commander-in-chief. The report specifically focused on “initial employment” petitions commonly used for new hires that count against the annual employment limit established for the H-1B visa program.

A finding that surprised some analysts is that larger companies seem to have no better luck with H-1B visa denials than smaller business entities. The numbers show that 20 of the top 25 employers for H-1B workers experienced petition denials over the second quarter of 2020 that were 10 or more percentage points higher than the second quarter of 2015.

Companies that work in the information technology industry have suffered the highest denial rates. The data provided by the USCIS suggests the criteria used to analyze petitions for companies providing information technology is a little different from what is used to evaluate other petitions. These companies experienced denial rates of more than 20% over the second quarter of 2020 than was normal five years ago.

The overall rates for H-1B visa denials in the second quarter of 2020 ranged from 1% to 5%. Five years later, the rates of H-1B visa denials were as low as 15% and reached over 50% for more than one company.

Major companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft had denial rates over 10% for the 2020 period observed. The denial rate for all these companies was 1% in 2015.

Immigration represents one of the most complex areas of law in the country. Immigrants have a lot riding on the petitions they file, so learning on the go is not an option in most cases. Individuals preparing immigration petitions may improve their chances of a favorable response by working with an immigration attorney.