Changes to H-1B Visa Applications

January 24, 2020

Historically, employers had an easier time getting approvals for H-1B visa applications. However, in the wake of the current administration’s imposition of stricter requirements, the H-1B approval rate has dropped significantly. If this trend continues, more potentially qualified applicants will continue to be denied in the upcoming year.

H-1B Visa Requirements and Benefits

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to hire foreign professionals. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and a job offer from a U.S. company for a specialty position that requires their degree to qualify for an initial three-year duration of stay.

Nationals and citizens from any country may apply and once the principal holder has been approved, they may be able to bring over their spouse and children as dependents. H-1B visa holders may work part-time, for multiple employers, or for a different employer during their stay. The H-1B visa is considered a dual intent visa; therefore, H-1B visa holders may simultaneously pursue legal permanent residency.

There are also many benefits of the H-1B visa to employers. In today’s global market, companies may hire the most qualified applicants for highly specialized positions in the areas of science, technology, and mathematics. However, there is an annual cap on how many applications may be approved.

Stricter Policies

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues approximately 85,000 H-1B visas per year. However, the current administration is denying record numbers of H-1B visa petitions. The rate of denials increased 14 percent from 2016 to 2019, following the executive order aimed to promote several agendas, including strengthening economic and national security and helping stimulate economic growth.

Applicants who are initially denied may choose to refile or appeal to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office for reexamination. The USCIS appeals office reversed approximately three percent of H-1B appeals between 2014 and 2017, however in 2018, it overruled nearly 15 percent of cases. Due to stricter policies, adjudications officers may be confused as to who now qualifies for an H-1B visa.

Experts note that the new policies have led to erroneous denials by an office that typically sided with H-1B visa applicants. If the current administration continues to make it more difficult for applicants to gain approval, employers will be forced to be more selective when it comes to hiring foreign specialty workers.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the MC Law Group, LLC Assist Foreign Nationals in Obtaining H-1B Visas

If you are seeking an employment-based, non-immigrant visa, contact a Philadelphia immigration lawyer at the MC Law Group, LLC. Our highly qualified team proudly assists workers with H-1B visa applications and other immigration issues. From our office in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-496-0690.