H-1B Visa Approvals Up

Since the Biden administration reversed some Trump-era policies, the H-1B visa approval ratings have increased dramatically. Here's what you should know.

What Changed?

In 2020, when former President Trump was still in office, a settlement between the administration and the ITServe Alliance stated that Trump's restrictive policies were unlawful. At the time, H-1B visa approvals were at an all-time low, and many businesses like ITServe Alliance were worried about what the influx of denials would mean for their workforce.

After the lawsuit and election, the Biden administration began dismantling Trump policies one by one within the first 100 days in office. Of those policies, several were related to work visa limitations. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office can now approve H-1B visa applications at a higher rate than before.

The Numbers

Because of restrictions on visas since 2016, H-1B denial rates dropped below 4% in 2021 – a sharp decline from the 24% denial rate in 2018. These applications were for initial employment, not transfers, and USCIS employees and potential workers were put under a lot of stress to process petitions under the weight of harsh restrictions.

Before the Trump administration, denial rates were around 7% on average, meaning less than 10% of all H-1B applications were denied each year between 2010 and 2015. Many companies were concerned by the denial rate, and IT companies, in particular, spoke out about how the restrictions were affecting their business.

The following is a list of H-1B denials for tech companies in 2020:

  • Amazon: 3% denied
  • Infosys: 36% denied
  • Oracle: 3% denied
  • Cognizant: 43% denied

As the above list shows, bigger tech companies experienced some effects while others struggled to get foreign workers approved for labor in the United States.

It's important to note that these percentages only represent a few thousand workers who received approval out of tens of thousands who submitted applications. In fact, out of the 300,000 visa applications filed in March 2021, only 30% of those applications were approved.

Why It Matters

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark spoke on the matter in her first national address, "We have to grow our workforce if we want to grow our economy and stay competitive."

Clark and others understand the positive impact foreign workers have on the American economy and contribute to a healthy job market. In a post-lockdown economy with struggling businesses and the great resignation, officials and economists are worried that low numbers of workers from overseas could make things worse.

Boosting employment-based immigration is to the country's benefit. Clark also said that "[…] who wants to put their talent to work […]? Immigrants of every skill level. […] We must double the number of people legally immigrating to the U.S., and we must create a permanent solution for the 'dreamers.'"

Pursuing Employment in the U.S.

Work visas give immigrants the ability to work in live in the United States and opportunities to expand their global network. These visas are tickets to prosperity and freedom. The best part is they are achievable with the right guidance.

Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. has more than 50 years of combined experience in immigration matters from employment visas to citizenship and deportation defense. Our team of highly qualified professionals can guide you through the application process and provide advice for any roadblocks that may come up along the way.

We believe that every dreamer can be an achiever. Contact Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. for more information.