Nonimmigrant H-1B, L-1 visas approval rates continue to decline

indica News Bureau-

 

Data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the first three quarters of fiscal year 2019 show employers seeking H-1B and L-1 visas for workers are being asked to prove they’ll have work assignments for the full three-year term of the visa program, in a continuing trend under President Trump’s April 2017 executive order known as Buy American and Hire American, designed to tighten employment-based visa eligibility, according to published reports.

Under the H-1B visa program, companies in the U. S. are permitted to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent, according to the USCIS. L-1 visas are work visas available for temporary intracompany transferees who work in managerial positions or have specialized knowledge, according to the agency

The tech, health care, accounting, and pharmaceuticals industries are primary users of the H-1B program, according to published reports.

“The latest USCIS data confirm that employers continue to face increasing hurdles when petitioning for nonimmigrant employees in the current environment.” New Jersey-based immigration law firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy said in a statement.

According to Fragomen’s statement on the issue, H-1B approval rates remain well below where they stood five years ago when cases had a 95.7 percent approval rate. In the first three quarters of FY 2019, the overall H-1B approval rate fell to 83percent, which is slightly down from the same period in fiscal year 2018 and almost 10 percent down from the same period in FY 2017. The latest USCIS data confirm that employers continue to face increasing hurdles when petitioning for nonimmigrant employees in the current environment, the firm’s statement said

According to published reports, USCIS has been asking for assurances that visa holders will have enough work for the three-year length of the visa terms and that the work qualifies under the programs, according to published reports.

In some cases, the agency has approved visas for short terms depending on employer response to information requests, according to published reports.

But the new requirement that employers guarantee enough work has caused a dramatic increase in H-1B denials, with Microsoft, Google and other tech companies having nearly 100 percent approval rates, according to published reports.

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