H-1B Denial Rate Leveling Off as 2021 Approaches

After years of steadily rising, the denial rate for H-1B visa applications seems to have leveled off in fiscal year 2020, according to a new analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP). However, the denial rate still remains higher than it did before Trump became president, with some tech companies and business-consulting firms facing major headwinds in their attempts to secure H-1B workers. 

In its latest report (PDF), the NFAP states that the reason for the flattened-out denial rate comes down to how H-1B visas are processed, and that something similar happened in fiscal-year 2019, as well. “The denial rate was lower for H- 1B petitions adjudicated in the third quarter (April, May and June) of both years because those are primarily petitions selected in the annual lottery that U.S. Citizenship and Services (USCIS) considers easiest to approve, with other petitions delayed due to Requests for Evidence (RFEs) or other reasons,” the group wrote. 

“Analyzing data through the third quarter of FY 2020 finds nearly all top companies continue to be denied at higher rates than in the years before Donald Trump became president and instituted more restrictive H-1B policies,” the report added.

The following chart shows the long-term impact of those policies on the denial rate for initial H-1B petitions; keep in mind, again, that FY 2020 data is through the third quarter of the year. (NFAP draws all of its data from the USCIS H-1B Employer Data Hub.)

As we’ve seen over several years, the companies taking the biggest hit from Trump’s H-1B policies are the business-services and consulting firms that are routinely accused of improperly using the visa to secure cheaper talent from overseas. “The data indicate USCIS established a different standard for deciding cases for companies that provide information technology (IT) services,” stated the NFAP report. “Immigration law does not have a different standard for adjudications based on the type of firm or the location where work will be performed.” 

Biden and H-1B 

Over the past four years, the Trump administration has initiated a number of policies designed to curb H-1B abuse, from trying to end the H-4 EAD (which gives spouses of H-1B holders the right to work in the U.S.) to instituting an outright temporary ban on the visa. 

As Trump’s term reached its close, the administration finally launched a Department of Labor (DOL) Interim Final Rule designed to reform the H-1B system from the ground up, including a stricter application review.  

But with the Biden administration inbound, it’s an open question whether Trump’s attempts at reform will survive, especially since Biden has pledged to undo many of Trump’s actions. During the presidential campaign season, Biden’s website suggested that he would “increase the number of visas offered for permanent, work-based immigration based on macroeconomic conditions” but that he would also “protect wages and workers.” How that will translate into policy is still unclear at this juncture. 

36 Responses to “H-1B Denial Rate Leveling Off as 2021 Approaches”

  1. jake leone

    Your readers need to understand that Facebook found hundreds of qualified Local-American applicants for much tougher tech jobs. Facebook refused to forward these better qualified Americans to the managers who were hiring the foreign workers, they did this exclusion deliberately. And that is why this is a clear case of discrimination based upon National Origin.

    Facebook lied on Federal Forms when it said it made a good faith effort, Facebook make a bad faith effort. And we know this because, facebook refused the San Francisco Chronicle’s FREE offer to post these jobs on the Chronicle website (all Facebook had to do was say “yes” instead of “no”), at the time the Chronicle was posting the jobs in print. And also, as you have pointed out, Facebook has extensive public company job board, but Facebook never put these jobs on that board.

    This FAKE/PERM process is well documented, and is quite scandalous. We need to fix the PERM process before we talk about getting rid of the diversity of the Green Card system. Mike Lee’s bill is a massive dentriment and clearly a give away to the absolutely bigoted hiring practices of companies in Silicon Valley. Fix the PERM process, and you will fix the Green Card back log very quickly, and more Americans will be able to get into a tech job. Again, Facebook had hundreds of qualified candidates, that it could not hire, into much tougher tech positions than the ones that were involved in these FAKE/PERM jobs.

    The big lie that tech companies can’t find qualified workers is fully exposed in this government indictment. Facebook was cooperating but has since gone silent. Cleary, this didn’t fully register what the implications of this massive fraud would be, otherwise I think they would not have cooperated with the government. Now that they have, it is too late. And civil lawsuits will follow.

    The process that Facebook gamed is called the PERM process. The PERM process can be redone, every 6 months, until the employers luck out (or deliberately avoid looking as is the case with FACEBOOK) and say (really lie) on Federal forms they couldn’t find an American.

    Literally, if an employer over a 10 year period, found plenty of qualified Americans to fill the foreign workers position, the employer can still refuse to hire an American. Because the foreign worker is allowed to renew their H-1b visa, indefinitely while doing the PERM process (in this case repeating the PERM process 2x a year, for 10 years).

    Meaning, that there is no actual equality in the hiring process when employers undergo PERM process for a foreign worker. The foreign worker can literally displace a better qualified American for a job on U.S. soil, forever.

    And Facebook has already been shown to do this, 2600+ times, over less than a 2-year period, covered by this investigation. Read the indictment, it’s online.

    • Narasimha reddy

      You need to understand that just because you are white/ american you don’t have the birthright to all the largesse in the world. Foreign graduates on H1B visa and OPT were far brighter and smarter than you that is why they were hired. You can cry and whine as much as you want . It just shows you are an incompetent looser.thanks

      • If you are here in America working, then you are not necessarily smarter, more like you are willing to take less money for your skills which drives down the salaries for all of us. Thanks, loser. I’ve been in this field a long time and most of the Indians that I have worked with are not smarter than me and at least, I don’t have to fear being deported if my position dries up and I can’t get another. And, I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get a green card either. If America is such a bad place, so many of you Indians wouldn’t be here taking our jobs and getting an education here. There are plenty of large data centers in India where you have also taken our jobs. Feel free to return at any time. You won’t be missed.

        • Well lets do that we will give away your jobs on a condition that USA, Europe, UK all white dominated countries take away its license and patent raj on daily use, essential, defense, technologies companies products like p&g, uniliver, gsk, collegate, palmolive, boeing, ibm, microsoft, facebook, …hundereds of companies selling products and collecting license fees on daily use products even on like soaps, toothpaste in India and killing India’s jobs, manufacturing industry and GDP forcing Indian’s to come to USA. What British/France/Spain colonizing India and around the other countries looting our natural resources and building so called great Western White civalization is a result of loot and opressions for 300 to 400 years => guess what mean while within 200 years USA the richest nation on Earth is born? well this is best case of become rich with shortcuts! Also USA should stop forcing using Dollar for trade and commerce in nation like India & rest of 3rd world countries! Stop hypocrisy and USA and Europe sets two sets of values one set at home and one set of values for non-white third world countries. USA/Europe talks about democracy and freedom yet these countries have the strict visa rules for people from 3rd world non-white country people- western hypocrisy. May be USA and Europe should stop forcing your language English and French & your Christian religion & Western Culture on 3rd world non-white non-christian countries – this is Cultural Jihad by USA & Europe to control and keep addiction of their consumers of Western Products! Pure Evil killing local talent, human resources and life to build your Emperial Corporate Empires in the West! Stop your Hypocracy come out of your bubble, read correct History….looser!

          • Your concerns may be valid but take them up with your government – hold them to their responsibilities and maybe you would find it better to remain in your own country. At least you could learn that from us and take that lesson home.

          • Jake_Leone

            The extent of your racism puts Archie Bunker to shame!

            Can you work on that please?

            Here’s a good way to start. Both countries can sell each other the tools to help raise their people up (if business is willing to, and governments decide they want to open trade). Countries can have trade treaties, (not pure free trade (like that between American states, or EU countries)), and that’s not racist. Capitalism, ends at the border. Between countries we only have treaties. India tariffs the heck out of already expensive American goods. But we do the same, in some case.

            One place where American has been lacking in proper control is in our immigration system. It has cost us dearly, it cost us the 911 attacks. It has cost us industries. And we need to get smarter about making sure that immigration is treated properly so that we make fully enfranchised workers, that are working in an open and equal competition within the borders of the United States.

            Because Obama was laid back with the Offshore Outsourcing companies, those companies took half the H-1b visas. And the those companies used those H-1b visas, and the B-1 visa, to remove jobs from the United States. But there is nothing racist about limiting those visas. There is nothing racist because all countries exercise the right to control who comes in (and in some cases even who goes out). And we don’t call it racist, if Japan only allows people of Japanese decent to live there, is it racist? But it is racist. But we put up with it, and we gloss over it. Because in order for Racism to be illegal, even to exist, you need enforced laws.

            Because even racism, is defined by national laws.

            And you might think, well there is something bigger here? Sort of like the John Lennon song “Imagine”. But there isn’t. I know this, do you know this? I only have rights because my government gives them to me. One of those rights is the right to speak freely about issues such as the immigration system. And I am personally working on making sure that we get an immigration system that works for the United States and its people.

            If it were me living in India, it would for India and its people. And there’s no shame in either point of view.

      • you need also to understand that most you are good at faking their resume and job skills. if you know that you are better than any americans you should have stayed in your country and help your country’s economy. that will test how competent you are.

        • Why don’t the politicians and policy maker do not understand that need of H1-b workers are not so much as it was 10-15 years ago. Current president implemented H1-b rules strictly he has become bad and new one say that he is going to get more H1-b visa then no idea what basis do they have to say all these without understanding the local needs of citizen of the country who voted for them.

      • Foreign workers are LAZY, LAZY, LAZY, and don’t compare to the work ethic of Americans, we don’t spend 1/2 the day walking around the building. IF you’re so smart, start your own company in India and stay the F out of America!

        • Jake_Leone

          That’s just plain junk thinking. Foreign workers are just people, same as any other.

          You need to work on it, let me help you:

          The problem is that our U.S. government has a completely broken PERM process. A PERM process that allows companies like Facebook, to protect foreign workers from an open competition for their job. Facebook has a lot of things to worry about, because they deal with so much personal data. They don’t want any more whistle-blowers.

          Hence the motivation by Facebook to lie on Federal forms. Literally to commit felony perjury on Federal forms, and say they made a good faith effort to find an American. When the reality is (and the DOJ lawsuit has evidence that backs this up). Facebook made every effort to completely avoid finding an American.

          And in many cases (2600+ apparently), Facebook had around 30 better qualified local candidates, that they never told the hiring managers in the PERM process about. We know this, from data that Facebook naively handed over to the Federal agents.

          Let’s have a real competition for work in this country, when doing the PERM process companies must be forced to:

          – Utilize all free advertising venues available to them (Facebook refused all, including 2 free ones the SF Chronicle website and Facebook’s own job website)

          – Limit the PERM process 2 to tries, after that a 10 year wait period to try again. That will clear the Green Card back log, I can assure you.

          – Before we do a Green Card giveaway (Mike Lee’s bill). Let do the PERM process one more time, but openly. If we find local American candidates, the foreign worker is out the door. That will clear the Green Card back log, instantly.

          We don’t need any more foreign workers who think they are entitled to special privileges, including breaking Federal laws and lying on Federal forms. That kind of corruption will ruin the United States.

        • When you say the foreign workers are LAZY, you have to understand what generation they are from, This is placing generalities on them, which I agree is never accurate, but you may be looking at some of the younger “I am more important than you” generation, My son has ran into some like that at the Uni he worked for. I have worked with Indians who were older and had outstanding work ethics and skills. I think it may be which window you look into what view you get.

      • “You need to understand that just because you are white/ american”
        So you decided to go there. For your information, which you so drastically need, there are numerous non-white American born applicants including those of the orient who are being skipped over for cheaper labor abroad. This does not concern just white folks, it concerns everyone regardless of color and ethnicity.

        “Foreign graduates on H1B visa and OPT were far brighter and smarter than you that is why they were hired.”
        In the majority of cases that is not true, and there are plenty of examples that can be given. There are a few that are intelligent (credit where credit is due), but the majority of applicants do not speak for that one shining example. Most of them are just deadbeats wanting to get out of their sh**hole.

        “You can cry and whine as much as you want . It just shows you are an incompetent looser.”
        The kettle calling the pot black, outstanding. And ‘loser’ is spelled with one ‘s’. Unless your speaking about loosing shoelaces. Something many of you are experienced at when it comes to your untying your master’s shoes over there.

        You guys are really are a bunch of obnoxious snobs, a tin can on top of a junk pile.

      • You should understand that you do not have a right to go to any other country and demand a job. And consider that there is little to no reciprocal arrangement with your country – it is all one way. Maybe you could focus on improving your prospects in your own country before telling Americans that foreign workers should have any priority in the US.

      • jake leone

        Surprise, Racist, Americans are not all of European decent.

        Facebook discriminated against Americans, that’s citizens and green card holders. Discrimination, based upon nationality, is literally against U.S. Federal law. As is lying on Federal forms.

        But, classifying Americans as white people. Or classifying white people as stupid. Well that’s lowest form of racism. See Dr. King’s Selma speech for more information on how rich people tell lies about groups, just so they can soothe the ego of poor of another group.

        Given the demographics of the Bay Area, Facebook had to have discriminated heavily against Americans of all ancestries. And people of European descent, could well be a minority in the sum total of people that Facebook discriminated against.

        And I am not even talking about giving anyone a special privilege to the job. I want a real competition for those jobs. That competition was sold as the PERM process to the American people.

        The only protectionism here, is the protectionism that Facebook gave foreign workers, from having to compete with often better qualified, more highly skilled, American workers.

        The only privileged attitude here, the attitude that Facebook employees and Facebook have, that they are above the law. And that they have the right to commit Felony perjury on Federal forms.

        The insanity here, is that no doubt some think this is “good kind” of trouble. When in fact it is motivated by a desire to keep an indentured workforce that will not protect the general public from the dangers of unchecked personal data calamities that Facebook has had numerous problems with other last 10 years.

        The reality is that Facebook is as afraid of employees having rights (like the right to leave and start their own business) and is afraid to actually compete in a Free and Capitalist market of the United States of America.

        Facebook is obviously giving special privilege to foreign candidates. Facebook is not allowing a competition for the job to even occur. And we have to wonder, why is that?

        Well, the DOJ indictment says that Facebook prefers people who are stuck the Green Card process.

        Facebook has had a lot bad publicity, expensive lawsuits, and Massive fines, in some cases started by employees who, well blew the whistle. But if you are trying to get a Green Card out of Facebook, I think you are going to think twice about blowing the whistle. If you blow the whistle, and your case doesn’t stand up, you are going to be sent home, to abject poverty.

        Facebook knows this, and prefers this. We see this all over the place when illegals are hired. For example at meat packing plants, when there is problem like salmonella or some other issue, the illegals keep their mouths shut.

        And the people that Facebook is protecting from an open competition for a job, because they are disenfranchised, are illegal. They are illegal because Facebook broke the law (by committing perjury on Federal forms) to get them here.

        And no one has the privilege to break the law.

        Unless you are Facebook which bought off the winning party in this election, with a 100 million dollar bribe.

      • Once the great nation of India takes over united states from lazy white man, then we ship away all white to make USA our brown country. White are all stupid lazy sucks. You will all pray to great god Shiva when done.

        • Jake_Leone

          There, there little racist. Did getting that big lie out make you feel better?

          You can either come to the top of the mountain with the rest of us, or keep playing in sandy tidal zone at the beach.

          Your choice.

      • US IT Worker

        Indians always speak so highly of their own “intelligence” and “skills” while putting down every other nationality. Constantly referring to others as less skilled .

        If you are Indian that came to USA on H1B visa chances are:

        Your recruiter was Indian.
        Your technical interview was conducted by an Indian.
        Your hiring decision was made by an Indian.
        Your onboarding was done by an Indian.
        Your project manager is Indian.
        Your team is also Indian.

        If you don’t know how to do something an Indian will teach you onsite. After 2 visa renewals your Indian manager will sponsor your green card.

        EASY JOB. EASY LIFE IN AMERICA.

    • Tech Worker

      Let me break this new to you, no hiring manager in their right mind will choose a less qualified person over a more qualified one and will go thru endless hassle of H1B sponsoring.
      In addition deal with uncertainty of their resources being stuck in their home country and not able to come back to the states as consulates are frequently hold up/reject H1bs for no reason.
      All the people come on dice website and comment against H1Bs are the one, who just immigrated to this country and now don’t want to compete.

      • Jake_Leone

        Facebook has a machine for these immigration procedures. The costs are minimal compared to savings over as long as well, decades frankly, when hiring a foreign worker who is applying for a Green Card.

        Facebook was perfectly willing to lie on these Federal forms. Saying they couldn’t find qualified Americans. When in fact, they did find numerous better qualified candidates. And they protected those foreign workers, from that local competition. Read the DOJ indictment, it’s online, and the data is there.

        But there is also another sinister motivation. These foreign workers were protected, by Facebook, from an open competition with local candidates. And literally, because Facebook committed a Federal crime of perjury, on these immigration forms, on behalf of these foreign workers.

        Those foreign workers are here, illegally.

        Illegals don’t blow whistles. That’s important when you consider Facebook current and growing legal exposure in the U.S. and in Europe. That exposure could cost Facebook billions in business, fines and law suites. Hey, it could cost Facebook the company if people get wise to the fact that Facebook is acting like scoffing monopoly.

        Literally, this is all about scoffing at U.S. law. Using monopoly power to drive out competition. Prevent workers from being able to even think about doing the right thing. Frankly, Facebook is a very sick, sick company.

      • Yeah right

        Yeah, that’s why the big tech recruiting firms don’t like Trump. They make huge money off of H1B workers, don’t have to provide benefits, don’t have to listen to Americans speaking up: job experience and skill has nothing to do with this.

  2. Saby Maitra

    The reality is, all schools across america for CSE and IS are filled with foreign students from China, India, Bangladesh etc. During the rising h1-b denials, the tech companies were looking for skilled CSE experts everywhere. The fact is that, in America, higher education is still not viewed as necessity and there is a gap in required CSE bachelors and masters candidates. Any educated American is well aware that tech jobs are not burger flipping jobs or manning a cash counter.

    • Oh, come on man. That trite line about not having enough American STEM grads is so outdated! It might have a small chance with sleepy Joe – but Americans have been flocking to these studies, especially as Obama used that nonsense to try to increase the H1b counts.

    • Jake_Leone

      Read the DOJ indictment of Facebook in the fake/perm ad case.

      Literally, Facebook found 30 or more qualified local U.S. Stem candidates, fully qualified for more difficult work (than the work being done by the foreign workers in the PERM positions). Facebook just couldn’t hire them because that’s 30 better qualified locals per one open job ad. Facebook has been finding STEM workers in abundance for decades, but lying to us all for decades about it.

      Facebook protected their foreign workforce from direct competition with the better qualified Americans, 2600+ times, over just a 1.5 year period. Read the DOJ indictment.

      You have bought into the big propaganda lie of the Tech industry.

      The Labor Department audited Facebook and the Department of Justice took up the case. Facebook throws away the resumes of numerous better qualified american STEM/IT workers. Because Americans have rights, we aren’t afraid to blow the whistle, we can leave anytime for a competitor or to create a competitive business, in short Americans aren’t allowed to compete for these jobs held by foreign workers at Facebook, because Americans are not indentured to a one company forever until Green Card day.

  3. Hopefully, there will be some helpful reform with the new administration. For the last 50 years, American workers have been losing ground and the companies getting away with doing what they want. Capitalism at its worst. The government needs to support its workers by fining companies that offshore and outsource. There are many qualified and talented Americans. Companies need to be forced to do a better job of proving that they could not find a qualified American before going for a foreign worker. And, the government needs to review those reports and follow up on offenders.

    • You think the NEW administration is going to help American workers over those from India and China? Good luck with that!! They are going to screw Americans, we already have a once secured southern border overflowing with illegals coming in due to this NEW administration, start flipping burgers, bc your IT jobs are not for you, they are for China/India now!

    • jake_leone

      You will be unpleasantly surprised to see what Joe Biden and the Democrats will do a for campaign dollars.

      Joe is clueless on the H-1b visa and Green Cards, he will do and say whatever the highest bidder will tell him to do.

      That’s been his past behavior and that will be his current and future behavior. Big Tech has purchased a safe and reliable President.

  4. Robert Kevin Yeager

    I strongly suggest we review the origins of many IT giants (IBM, Oracle, etc.) were funded by various U.S. governments (Federal, State and Local) over many decades. These IT giants had multiple projects with some having huge cost overruns, but the U.S. taxpayer continued funding in the hope that new industries and jobs would be created for U.S. Citizens. Example Oracle’s first major customers were the U.S. Airforce and CIA in 1979. As a mature IT and Financial Professional in my upper 50’s saw first-hand how American IT employers would manipulate the H1B system to create a human pipeline to India and China to suppress IT wages. I and many of my U.S. associates were denied training by our employers for new technologies to justify importing H1-B visa applicants by stating our lack of skill in these new technologies. Now I could have used my own resources to obtain the necessary knowledge but the cost in time and money is EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE. Example in 2019 Oracle charged $4,995.00 for R12 Oracle EBS training and certification. So please let us stop with the insults and know the facts!

  5. John Ruble

    The flood of people from India, Bangladesh, etc. most certainly is NOT because they are more highly skilled or more intelligent than American workers. That has NEVER been the case. The simple fact is people from India, Bangladeshi, etc. will ‘work’ for far less money than an equally skilled American worker. Result: our own abuse of American capitalism has caused this abuse of the H1B system that skyrocketed the GNP (gross number of Patels) here in America. In my more than 40 years as an electrical engineer I have never seen an Indian or Bangladeshi field electrical engineer who was as equally qualified as his American counterpart, let alone more qualified. I HAVE seen brown skinned, office-only EEs who were pretty decent in front of a computer running design software, but for goodness sake don’t ever put them out in the field as they don’t know which end of a tape measure to hold or what that dial on the multimeter is for. President Trump curbed the abuse of the H1B program but I’m afraid that’s about to come to an end with the incoming Harris Administration… pending Georg Soros giving the order to sideline Biden to the dementia retirement home.

  6. No citizen of any country needs to justify hiring local candidates to another guest worker from a foreign country, whether they are good or not. We can fire maids anytime and stop hiring them.

  7. AMERICA FIRST

    In my well over 20 years serving in various technology engineering roles I have personally witnessed the elimination of AMERICAN jobs in favor of these USELESS H1B’s. They should be sent back to India, et al, and forbidden to return to the United States of America. The companies that employ them are no better and require their own special attention from ‘We The People’. Now is the time for your voices to be heard. If not now, then forever hold your peace accepting that American values and ideals -were- a thing of the past. God Bless These United States of America.

  8. I am not sure if this will happen going forward with new administration and post COVID advents effecting H1B visas but with more and more tech companies allowing work from home (Google and Oracle already declaring so) as the new way of doing tech work, H1B will logically become irrelevant. Tech folks will be able to work permanently from home which means they can work from their homes in their respective countries – no need to getting visas and going anywhere, right ?!!
    Of course this will increase outsourcing and offshoring as more work will be going outside US and companies will be paying less salaries and save $ on cost of visa processing. But a step in the right direction maybe..