It means that H-1B visa acceptance rates have gone up. However, it’s more accurate to say that fewer visas are rejected than prior.
H-1Bs have come back to the levels of Obama’s administration. This has come into effect after a legal statement and court decisions cutting Trump’s restrictive immigration policies.
The changes were put into effect in the last quarter of 2020 when Trump was still acting president. This occurred after a legal settlement with ITServe Alliance and judges claiming that the policies were unlawful.
With that, the low denial rates carried on briefly throughout Biden’s administration. This was mainly due to inaction on the administration’s part to remove the restrictions and the continued abidance of 2020’s legal settlement.
More Data on Denial Rates
The fiscal year 2021 saw H-1B employment petitions improve in acceptance rates. In fact, denials were far less than the year before, according to data from NFAP (the National Foundation for American Policy).
2021’s denial rates were at 4%, much lower than 2018’s rates (which were 24%), and 2019’s rates (which were at 13%).
Denial rates were high as far back as 2016. This was the first major recorded spike, jumping from 6% in 2015 to 10% the following year.
With that, the high denial rates seem to come from unlawful policies initiated during Trump’s administration.
The impact of the immigration policies was horrific during Trump’s four years of tenure, mostly coming in the form of economic damage to employers, and the loss of potential talent overseas.
In fact, it’s speculated that denial rates would be much higher – if it weren’t for 2020’s legal settlement.
But that’s not all. The court ruling did prevent the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) from adding further restrictions on those qualifying for H-1B visas.
What the Denial Rates Indicate
The low H-1B denial rates in 2021 show that Trumps’ anti-immigration approach was more harmful than helpful.
With the new court orders, denial rates have now dropped to 2015’s levels, indicating that they were quite repressive for employers.
Major industries were affected by the Trump era restrictions – many critical to the US economy, with IT services peaking that list.
And the reason for that is simple, H-1B temporary visas are usually the only way for highly skilled foreign nationals to access the US.
Foreigners not only include those seeking employment. But they also include international students who may prove to be talented members of the US workforce.
Reasons Behind High Denial Rates
Most stem from the October 2017 memo issued by Trump’s administration which changed the standards followed when reviewing H-1B applications.
Many large companies had their foreign employment initiatives halted by the memo. One is Amazon, which did register the highest initial employment rates in 2021 at 6182.
Ongoing Problems for Foreign Employees
Do the changes of Biden’s administration bring positive changes? They do, but not entirely.
The cap on H-1B registrations is still low, only at 85,000 for 2021. Employers in the US at that time filed 300,000+ registrations.
This represents a government rejection rate of 70% – before an adjudicator’s intervention.