Indian IT firms bear brunt as new H-1B visa rejection rate rises to 25%

indica News Bureau-


The US rejected nearly a fourth of all fresh H-1B applications through the third quarter of fiscal 2019, The Economic Times newspaper, quoting the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), said.

The NFAP, which analyzed data from the US Citizenship and Immigration Service, said the rejection rate in FY19 had jumped three times over the rate in FY15.

Indians account for nearly 70% of all H-1B permit holders with global technology firms relying on such talent to work onsite in the US.

“The denial rates for H-1B petitions have increased because USCIS has changed the standards for approval without new regulations or Congress passing a new law,” NFAP executive director Stuart Anderson told The Economic Times.

Denial rates for fresh H-1B applications stood at 6% in FY15. “The denial rate for initial employment has increased for nearly all leading companies, but it’s clear USCIS adjudicators have singled out information technology services companies for the most restrictive policies,” Anderson said.

Cognizant saw more than 60% of its initial applications rejected, followed by Capgemini, Accenture, Wipro and Infosys.

In FY18, the top six Indian firms got just 16%, or 2,145 H-1B work permits, fewer than the 2,399 visas that Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, secured.

Apple, Cummins and Walmart have seen no change in the percentage of rejections, according to NFAP’s analysis of 27 top technology companies.

Immigration experts say such high rejection rates for work permits could hit talent movement and thereby the tech services companies’ business, the newspaper said.

“There is a problem… a sharp increase in denials. Also, the denial rate for past petitions for extension cases have gone up and that is more alarming,” Poorvi Chothani, managing partner, LawQuest, an immigration law firm, told the business newspaper.

The denial rate of 12% for continuing employment in FY19 is four times the rate in FY15, NFAP analysis of applications by the 27 tech services firms showed.

Ever since President Donald Trump began delivering on his promise to harden the country’s stand on immigration, Indian IT firms have been at the receiving end. The US has also switched to a rule that favors candidates with an American master’s degree for work permits.

The Trump administration also plans to rescind an Obama-era rule that allowed spouses of H-1B work permit holders to work in the US. Indian nationals, most of them women, have been the primary beneficiaries of the H-4 EAD, receiving over 90% of the 120,000 visas issued since FY15.

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