H-1B Denial Rates Lower at Big Tech, Consulting, Outsourcing Firms

At some of the nation’s biggest tech companies and consulting firms, the denial rate for initial H-1B applications noticeably dropped between the first two quarters of fiscal year 2020 and fiscal year 2021. 

That’s potentially bad news for critics of the H-1B system who hoped that the rising denial rates of the past few years would evolve into a long-term trend. The denial rate plunged for business-services and consulting firms such as Infosys and Cognizant, which are often accused of subcontracting H-1B workers to other companies at prices that undercut salaries.

At companies such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook, the declines in denial rates weren’t nearly as steep. “Denial rates for H-1B petitions appear to have returned to more traditional levels after court decisions and a legal settlement ended the Trump administration’s H-1B policies found to be unlawful,” the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), which broke down this data about denial rates, wrote in its accompanying report. “Still, those policies imposed significant costs on employers, visa holders and the economy, likely contributing to more work and talent moving to other countries.” Here’s the full chart: 

The Trump administration expended quite a bit of energy on reforming the H-1B, including numerous restrictions on business-services and consulting firms’ use of the visa. In turn, many of those companies pushed back via the court system. For example, in early 2020, many of them launched a lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), arguing that they deserved a $350 million refund on H-1B visa application fees

Amidst that constant back-and-forth, In addition, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also announced that it would adjust fees for visas, including the H-1B. That new fee structure (including a $4,000 price tag for renewals) seemed designed to make things much more expensive for those business-services and consulting firms applying for thousands of H-1B visas every year. 

With the Biden administration, though, it’s unclear whether substantial H-1B visa reforms are in the making. Biden’s first regulatory agenda, published this summer, hinted at the administration’s intention to “modernize” H-1B requirements—but what that actually means is an open question. Will these lower denial rates sustain, or rise again? 

7 Responses to “H-1B Denial Rates Lower at Big Tech, Consulting, Outsourcing Firms”

  1. Jake_Leone

    What it means is that 100 million dollars that Big Tech gave the Democrats during the 2020 Presidential campaign. Is now being paid back with political favors.

    We need to realize that there is nothing more valuable than an indentured engineer. So valuable that Eric Schmidt and several other Big Tech CEO’s were willing to risk jail time in order to deny their company’s engineer, their Free Market (Capitalist) right to seek employment at a different company of their choosing.

    An indentured tech employee is so valuable that Facebook, 2600+ times over just a 1.5 year period, discriminated against better qualified local engineers, in favor of foreign workers who were locked in their job until they get a Green Card.

    An indentured tech employee, is so valuable, that many of the large IT service companies will only hire people on an H-1b visa. And we know this from court cases where they had to divulge documents that prove this.

    The H-1b program is a HORRIBLE U.S. government program. And its daughter Green Card PERM process is a an immoral and horrible program. Both programs were written by immigration lawyers. For example Elaine Chao, an immigration lawyer, was the head of DOL, when the rules for the PERM process were written. Those rules were written by immigration lawyers, who knew that IF the PERM process had sufficient loopholes (such as you can use print-only job ads), that they could create a marketable product to companies, whereby the companies can completely avoid better qualified U.S. STEM workers. Thereby, protecting foreign workers (who are then indentured by the long wait for a Green Card), from having to compete with better qualified local STEM workers.

    When companies create an indentured workforce. They don’t “Grow the pie”. What happens is this:

    – Offshore Outsourcing companies use the H-1b visa to bring in fresher trainees, which are then trained by local workers, and the entire department and all supporting jobs are shipped to India (hence the American Pie shrinks).

    – Lesser qualified workers, at Facebook for example, stay on forever, and they don’t go on to produce competing companies. Hence, the American Pie shrinks, for all Americans. Because competing companies and their services are denied to Americans.

    – Money, from the United States, is remitted back to a foreign country. And it only makes it back, after that money has purchased resources from around the world, to be used in that foreign country. If you are wondering why oil, copper, and numerous other resources have spiked and not really gone down in price, it is because you can’t grow the PIE when irreplaceable and limited resources are denied to your economy because of price. (Hence the American Pie shrinks for many Americans in ordinary jobs).

    Trump merely enforced the existing rules for the H-1b process. And several whistleblowers have now come forward from the INS, saying that now, under Biden, they are under tremendous pressure to simply rubber stamp H-1b visa requests.

    In other words, we are back to the same old system, that stymied the recovery under President Barack Obama. While India grew a massive Outsourcing industry, that preyed on ordinary jobs in support, HR, accounting… Unfortunately, many younger voters just weren’t conscious of what was going on for the last 30 years in the H-1b program, so they are susceptible to propaganda bologna of H-1b advocates and their paid off political parties. That susceptibility will quickly fade with a stalled pandemic recovery under Biden (or, if Biden gets his way on spending, a stagflation recovery that will quickly deflate the value of the U.S. dollar, and see massive price rises in commodities, aren’t we already seeing this?).

    Many of the changes made by Trump, such as the change from a brain dead lottery, to a salary based allocation of H-1b visas, have been removed. The new pay structure for H-1b workers, has been removed. This is because immigration lawyers have a huge influence on the board of directors at many big tech companies. So much so, that tech companies can’t see that the change to a salary based allocation of H-1b visas is actually a great idea for Big Tech.

    That single change to a salary based allocation of H-1b visas, would make it easier for Silicon Valley to hire foreign workers. Because, currently half the H-1b are going to Offshore Outsourcing companies that pay the lowest salaries. The CoC of Silicon Valley is wrong to oppose these changes, but they do so because the immigration lawyers are working in a sinister counter-fiduciary manner on these issue.

    The change to a salary based allocation of H-1b visas would cut the H-1b business of immigration law firms by 75%. As companies that know they are hiring mediocre candidates, and insanely low salaries (for example all the Offshore Outsourcing companies) would simply drop out and stop gambling with the immigration lawyers.

    These immigration lawyers will never allow the Green Card system or the H-1b program to be cleaned up. Because they are making too much money. Nothing shows this more clearly, than the paid for articles in Forbes by Stuart Anderson (an immigration lawyer and well connected lobbyist). Stuart Anderson’s opinions always make it to the top of the stack on Google news. Yet this guy has the gaul to say changing from a brain dead lottery to a salary based allocation is a terrible idea.

    But go ahead, keep the current sick system. That way half the h-1b visas go to Offshore Outsourcing companies, that pick on well scripted positions in HR, account, and support. Keep making it impossible for a foreign intern at my company, working on an OPT visa, to convert to an H-1b visa, that way they will leave to a the company that wins an H-1b for them. And keep allowing ultra low salaries, so that people with my level of experience in Europe, Asia, and Israel simply won’t leave their better paying job for a job in the United States.

    • Very well said @Jake. Having lived and worked in Silicon Valley, I have seen first hand the absolute scam the H1B process has become. There was no shortage of Tech workers, it was always an excuse by big tech to import in as many people as possible from India as they can and not pay livable wages. I had to live next to a 1-bedroom home where there were seven of them living before they were caught and kicked out. It is an unadulterated invasion. My other neighbor was a senior engineer at Google stated it was common to find them googling the proper code to input because most of them had no idea what they were doing or had inflated their level of experience. I could no longer tolerate getting on the Bart and being the only white face in a sea of foreigners (and that was only ONE car). The entire thing is a scam and everyone who voted for Biden should hang their heads in shame, we are yet again in the midst of economic stagnation under Obama and wide open stealing of our jobs.
      Be afraid.

    • Jake_Leone

      Trump’s H-1b changes would have actually made more (2x more) H-1b visas available to Big Tech companies. But immigration lawyers shot it down in the board room, and the CoC, because those changes would have simultaneously cut the number of redundant H-1b application by 75%. That would mean a 75% reduction in work for, lawyers, and that can NEVER be allowed to happen.

      Why do you think Green Card reform never passes? Think about it.

      Trump’s change to a salary based allocation of H-1b visas would have kicked the Offshore Outsourcing companies out of the H-1b program, because they always pay the lowest allowed salary for their H-1b workers.

      Trump’s increase in base salary for H-1b workers, would have attracted more H-1b applicants from Europe, Japan, and Israel. But those changes were shot down by immigration lawyers.

      The first thing Biden did was put these changes on hold, how convenient for immigration lawyers.

      These changes would have greatly benefited Silicon Valley. They simply don’t benefit immigration lawyers. And lawyers have a huge influence in Big Tech. Anything that limits their business gets stomped. Even if it means working in a counter-fiduciary and immoral manner, to their actual customers (businesses and potential visa holders).

      Those Trump changes, would have changed the odds from the current 1-in-4 chance that an intern lands an H-1b visa, to an a 100% chance that an intern lands an H-1b visa. Instead, what happens now, is that interns are forced to game the system and work with several companies that will put in an H-1b visa request on their behalf. Or they risk waiting forever (until their OPT visa runs out) for an H-1b visa.

      But hey, what do I care? By rescinding those Trump changes, Biden has made my job more secure. Because I have huge domain knowledge at my job. That intern, they will never get an H-1b visa, so they just wind up leaving.

      That guy in Europe or Israel with more domain knowledge, he will never to move to the U.S. for 90k (or less) a year. So go ahead, out of pure spite, lose the Trump changes. Think with your hormones, not your head. Let the immigration lawyers advise you on national policy, and where to spend your lobbying dollars, in regards to the H-1b visas. The same immigration lawyers that put in so many loop-holes in the Green Card and H-1b system, those 2 systems are now marketable products, for lawyers, to sell to companies.

      • “Anything that limits their business gets stomped.” This is very believable. Thanks for the perspective and all the examples. You should write a book about this. In IT myself, I’ve long suspected shenanigans and possibly worse as I’ve lived through years of outsourcing and offshoring. Whole teams are now foreigners while nobody white gets hired anymore. I think it’s all racist as well. I never really believed that it was due to a shortage of STEM graduates here in the USA. Something is amiss, and you’re onto it. Write a book!

        • The H1B program started by Carly Fiorina when she was the disastrous CEO of HP has always been a scam. Companies need to forced to sign an affidavit that they could not find a IT or other technical person of US citizenship in this country

    • So why aren’t we training Americans? African-Americans have been pretty much excluded from what has been one of the biggest economic opportunities in the United States in the past hundred years.

      Instead companies have decided to import people. If that’s not systemic racism I don’t know what is.