H-1B Denials for Continuing Employment Have Spiked. Why?

If you’ve been following the H-1B issue, you know that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has denied an increasing number of new H-1B visa applications over the past few years. New data shows that the denials of H-1B petitions for continuing employment are on the rise, too.

The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), which digests and analyzes data from USCIS, offers up regular breakdowns of H-1B data. Its most recent one shows that, for all four quarters of fiscal year 2019, denial rates rose for H-1B petitions for initial employment. According to its dataset, denials for continuing H-1B employment have likewise risen in comparison to previous years. Here’s the chart:

NFAP attributes the rise in continuing-employment denials to a 2017 memo by the then-new director of the USCIS. “The memo has likely been responsible for many of the denials in continuing employment cases, according to attorneys,” the organization related in a note, before quoting from the USCIS itself: “’The previous policy instructed officers to give deference to the findings of a previously approved petition, as long as the key elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination,’ noted a USCIS statement. ‘The updated policy guidance rescinds the previous policy.’”

Because the continuing-employment denial rate seems to have stayed relatively level across all quarters of fiscal year 2019, NFAP also assumes “these types of cases will be denied at a similar rate in FY 2020.”

For critics of the H-1B visa program, this increasing rate of denials is a good thing, because it pushes back against what they see as tech and consulting companies’ attempts to bring aboard foreign talent at artificially suppressed prices. A rise in denials for continued employment would also disrupt companies’ efforts to use the visa as a pipeline for talent.

However, the rate of denials has leveled off over the past year (both for new and continuing-employment applications), and it remains to be seen whether such high rates will continue in the long-term. (Dice’s separate analysis of USCIS data shows that the rate of initial H-1B approvals (as well as approvals post-RFE) has crept up slightly.)

28 Responses to “H-1B Denials for Continuing Employment Have Spiked. Why?”

  1. CHARLES URREA

    Though rarely acknowledged, it has become more and more apparent to many companies that the alleged equivalent education’s are not up to scratch. This does not come as a surprise considering in places such as India they merely teach to a test and not to proficiency. A doctor of medicine for example, merely needs a 50% on a 300 question standardized test to get a PhD.

  2. No problem at all with this. As someone who hires both FTE and work force extension employees, on shore and off, the FTE path is clearly the most effective. It’s a fallacy that the cost vs. productivity saves for most, but not all, off shore resources. The back and forth required, the on shore off shore coordination, the additional layers of management needed, the high off shore turnover rate, all work against you. I’m more likely to higher and even sponsor a qualified employee than use an off shore resourcing company. All promises, no fulfillment, and overall a higher cost. It’s a model that just doesn’t make sense anymore.

    • Jorge Guarino

      It is definitely the right thing to do. if the shoe was on the other foot, you better believe they’d protect their workers first. America for Americans First!

  3. American tech firms, like all American businesses, are hooked on cheap labor. They’ll continue to manipulate facts and data to support the lie that they can’t find qualified American IT workers in order to hire cheap, subpar foreign labor. The quality of skills, productivity, and work ethic just isn’t there. I’ve spent years working with H1-B hires in various capacities and it isn’t a pleasant experience. Domestic workers are often expected to pick up the slack for people they’re told are equally or more skilled than American workers but can’t do their jobs.

  4. It is even more important now that the economy starting to slow down due to the virus. Interesting news report I want to share is that during the middle of the recession in 2009, US companies were cutting back on H1B workers. Indian H1B firms had the nerve whining about this. GIMMIE A BREAK! Of course a country is going to see the needs of its citizens first especially during hard times!

  5. Richard

    Excellent hire Americans cheap poorly educated people from India and China are not needed here we have plenty of college educated people that can do the job. What this does mean is these companies have to pay them a fair salary. H1B was based on a false premise and continues to do so.

  6. What about the 1,000,000+ H1-Bs with expired visas. A research of a certain social network, less than 10% go home after the max 6 year visa allowance. I.C.E. doesn’t actively pursue these outlaws to deport them. This fact was confirmed at a DHS booth at a Recruit Military job fare.
    Also, our corrupt Congress would lose it’s access to corruption money that is funneled to them.
    I estimate that 99+% of the I.T. Consulting is controlled by foreign companies. Most of my calls from I.T. Consulting firms are from foreigners that speak broken English. The mismatch profiles to job requirements and they still try to shoehorn the unqualified applicant into the position. They will always attempt to Jew down already 30 year ago rates, plus they expect the applicant to travel on site (out-of-state) at an expense cost of $20-25 per hour.When cornered, they admit that they have depressed consulting rates. They will say, that is what the client wants to pay. The client expects cheap rates when dealing with foreigners, we Americans dearly pay for their rate negotiations. An example of cheap rates is out-of-state positions in Atlanta, GA at $40 per hour C2C. If W-2, Georgia will extract state tax further reducing the rate. The C2C applicant pays both sides of Social Security, reducing the rate.
    The advantage of C2C is to tax protect the allowable Per Diem amount from Federal taxation. The Per Diem rate for Atlanta is $230 per day or $28.75 per hour. So, $40 per hour, less the protected amount of $28.75 per hour = $11.25, less the Social Security amount of $1.40 = $9.85 (subject to Federal tax), barely above the Georgia minimum wage. The protected Per Diem amount is used to pay the living expenses up to $2,000 per month for living expenses $11.56 per hour. Therefore the earned income amount of $9.85, plus the left over Per Diem amount $17.19 nets to $27.04, a 30-40 year ago consulting rate. The foreigners have obviously failed math, or they don’t care. When recruiting for a position, there may be 2-3 levels of profit centers between the applicant and the end client, siphoning off money.

    • The bottom line is the H1-B program needs to be scrapped and all of the foreigners need to be deported. Then, we need to drain the Congressional cesspool by voting out all incumbents.

    • There were reports that older documents relating to H1b visas were purged under Obama – as a way of making it harder to track H1b visa overstays. Hopefully the biometric visa tracling system will help reduce these overstays – unfortunately the ones who overstay like this can be undiscovered until they have to leave the country for something like a family death or other event in their home country.

  7. A company should not be able to renew an H1b visa more than once. The inherent requirement should be that there is a search for a US worker to REPLACE the H1b. The H1b should be a stop-gap – not a means to cheap employment costs or to support a foreign workers desire to move to the US at all costs. At EVERY opportunity the Department of Labor and USCIS should verify requirements and should make sure that US workers are hired.

  8. “The work ethic and productivity is challenging” is a nice way of saying that they expect to actually be able to have a life and not work 18 hour days to meet some unrealistic deadline that they had no say in.

    Yeah, funny thing that…

  9. It's about time

    Good, and not a moment too soon – I hope it continues. My current workplace is controlled by about 95% HI-Bs despite American managers. These often contracted colleagues either deny interviews or jobs for Americans, actively go after roles where Americans have been hired, let Americans go first in reorgs, yet hire wives who may or may not be familiar with IT. Not sure what happened to anti-nepotism in the workplace – here, a wife pretty much automatically gets a job if the husband has been hired, often not because of merit, but because everyone knows each other and regularly socialize on weekends. It’s become unreal.

  10. Larry Kavounas

    Yeah, and I have heard elsewhere (NOT HERE!!!) that application rates have gone up by >20%. So we are actually accepting MORE people. If disagreeing, please post your sources.

  11. I’m watching as this great family owned company I know of give more and more responsibility and a large team to manage to one of their visa holding Indian employees. One-by-one his American employees (people in the job before he took over) mysteriously leave to work somewhere else. Guess who they are replaced with? More Indians. His team will soon be all Indian all the time. He’s supposed to be helping me get my job done, and I gave him the benefit of the doubt and made myself available, but he won’t talk to me because I really know my job (he’s not my superior) and I’m not easily manipulated when he acts like he knows everything and tries to make himself seem superior to me in regard to tech. They just promoted him again and they seem happily oblivious to the fact that he is constantly, and only, pushing his Indian agenda. The militant liberals think they’re being kind and open minded, and the Indians see that and play it for all it’s worth to the “right” people. They also try to manipulate Americans of color by claiming they are “black” and also discriminated against. This is total bs. In reality they believe they are superior to all of us, but especially the American minorities whose jobs they are stealing. If you are American, I guarantee that unless you can serve their agenda in some way, they will try to sabotage you, or ignore you, or discredit you and slander you so you can be replaced by an Indian “friend” who is gently “suggested” to management by the stunningly well trusted, seemingly mild mannered, victimized, compliant, self-superior Indian employee. I watched this happen at my previous company too. H1Bs really believe the crap they are fed about being smarter then American workers. H1B and all of its piggy back visas need to stop—now. American workers first and always. When every single American who wants it has a decent, fair paying job equal to their experience and or education, then look for a visa employees from a variety of countries, not just one country! If they don’t wake the feck up, companies will suffer the ultimate consequence of their disloyalty, greed, complacency, and delusion.

    • This happens all too often. The end result may be an IT group staffed with Indians, but the applications and processes fail. By that time, the worst perpetrators will usually have leveraged the pumped up job title and moved onto their next victims… Do your research – do not assume the resume is true.

    • American Worker

      I’m a minority female tech worker with an MBA and loads of certifications. At the moment. I’m losing my job. I’m currently training my Indian replacement. This is the 3rd time in 6 years this has happened to me. It’s extremely frustrating.
      This company I left in 2012 had just hired an Indian CIO. Very smart guy for sure. Back then there were maybe 2% Indians and the rest Americans. In 2015 I went back for a consulting interview and I promise you there were 98% Indians. To start with all the directors were Indians. Not 1 American. You can’t tell me that there were no Americans qualified to take up an IT Director job. I’m qualified but yet here I am again. Anyway. Then on the floor same thing. All Indians. Like that work place had transformed. You would think you were in Mumbai.
      I’ve also noticed that the way Indians interview is so different. If you cram answers and go in for the “technical” interview you get the job. Forget if you have the matching experience. They are also very rude and cocky when they are interviewing an American.
      For sure 20 years ago when I chose a degree in IT I never expected to be laid off time and time again only to be replaced by H1B. Hind sight. I should have gone into the healthcare field.

  12. Send your comments to your Congressional representatives; your Senators and Representatives. Tell them about the unfair employment scams you see. I have visited more than one Silicon Valley engineering lab that is fully staffed with Indian workers to the extent that English is not even spoken in the lab unless an American citizen walks in. It’s disgusting that companies here are getting away with this.
    In addition, racism, clanism, or whatever you want to call it is openly being practiced. Once a foreign manager gets hired, they mainly hire people of their ethnic background.

  13. Is there a problem with my post? I submitted a first hand account of Indian workers sabotaging and slandering Americans on their team so they can hire more Indians and it was never posted.

  14. This is completely out of control. The H1-B has displaced to many citz already … it was abused as a bottom-line booster at the expense of the tax-payers. I think if the abuse wasn’t so widespread and extreme, but it is, and it’s a welcome adjustment. The margins gained on this flim-flam visa only go into the pockets of the 1%. It’s a shame and it will take years to recover and adjust.