Based on the data released by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the H1-B visa denial rates for initial employment touched an all-time high of 30% in the first quarter of FY 2020. To put this in perspective, the denial rate for the same category of H1-B visas was 21% in all of FY 2019.
Prominent US technology companies that have traditionally received most approvals in the past also experienced an uptick in denials this year. Amazon led with 16% in H1-B denials followed by Google and Microsoft at 14% in the FY 2020 first quarter itself.
However, USCIS continues to target consultancy tech firms that provide information technology support to the US. This was evident in the consistent H1-B denial rates for TCS, Tech Mahindra, Cognizant, Infosys and Wipro. The denial rates for these companies combined, have shot up by 20% in the first quarter of 2020.
The second quarter of 2020 saw a 4% increase in H1-B approvals compared to FY 2019. At 87.1% this was a good beginning to Q2. Added to this, the approval rate after receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) has also seen an uptick of 10% and is at 68.2% in the second quarter.
Latest Update On Non-Immigrant Visas Impacting H1-B Visas
Q2 is marked by the US President’s Executive Order issued on April 23 , 2020 which suspended legal immigration impacting current and prospective green card holders staying outside the US. This immigration ban is for 60 days.While this did not initially include non-immigrant visa holders, the Department of Homeland Security will be reviewing the nonimmigrant worker programs by the end of May 2020.
Who is Impacted By the US Immigration Ban?
Everything you need to know
New Restrictions for H1-B & F1 Visa Holders Coming Soon – What To Expect
The US government has not indicated what the review on the 30thday will entail. However, they do intend to target non-immigrant employment visa categories including H1-B, L1-A, L1-B and F1 student visas.
- Like the 60-day immigration suspension for green card holders, anticipate a similar restriction on entry into the US for non-immigrant visa holders currently staying outside the country. This could be either a short-term suspension or a longer, one year suspension.
- Stricter, new conditions imposed on non-immigrant workers going forward. This could mean higher denial rates and more RFEs.
- USCIS is expected to announce the results of the Fy2021 H1-B lottery cap by June 30, 2020. These restrictions could potentially impact those lottery results.
- Suspend the F-1 student’s Optional Practical Training (OPT) program.
- Increase the minimum investment amount for the EB-5 investment visa program.
Need to Travel During Coronavirus Lockdown?
Here’s what you should know about immigration travel to the US
THIS Is What H1-B Visa Holders Should Do Right Now
- Travel to the US: If you have recently been issued a new H1-B or F1 visa and are outside the US, plan on returning immediately to avoid being locked out of the country
- H1-B Extension: If the H1-B visa is nearing expiration, file for an H1-B extension immediately. As long as the petition is accepted before the new directive, the beneficiary might have a better chance of getting through with minimal impact.
- FY 2021 Lottery Cap: For prospective H1-Bs, applying for the FY 2021 lottery cap-subject, submit your fully completed H1-B petition immediately. While you have until June 30, 2020 to submit these, USCIS will adjudicate them the sooner they receive it.
- H1-B Transfer: If an H1-B transfer is on the cards, talk to your immigration lawyer to expedite the paperwork and join your new employer sooner than later.
- Change of status: If you are an F1 student newly employed in the US, work on your change of status application and move over to H1-B visa status.
- OPT: F1 students who are undertaking STEM OPT or CPT internships, talk to your employer and ensure all paperwork is in place and your training is in accordance with USCIS guidelines.
2019 witnessed an increase in site visits by USCIS
This is how F1 students should do to be complaint with the processes
- Lastly, stay in constant touch with your immigration lawyer to ensure all your documents are in place and abide by all changes in immigration policy promptly.
DisclaimerThe information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal immigration advice. Please consult your own immigration lawyer before making any changes to your immigration status or connect with one on Lawbench for quick, reliable immigration guidance.
As DHS, DOL and DOS review the 60-day immigration ban and make their recommendations to the US government, Path2USA will ensure you have the latest update on your fingertips at the earliest.