H-1B Denial Rate Tumbles to 4 Percent as Trump Policies End

The denial rate for new H-1B visa petitions has tumbled over the past year, according to a new analysis of government data by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

That data, shared exclusively with Axios, shows that the denial rate for new H-1B employment petitions hit 4 percent in fiscal year 2021, down from 13 percent in 2020 and 21 percent in 2019. NFAP says it’s the lowest denial rate on record. 

Daniel Costa, director of immigration at the Economic Policy Institute, told Axios that the current H-1B program is “severely lacking in terms of good wage rules and oversight by the Labor Department.” That’s one side of the argument; a spokesperson for Google, which heavily utilizes the H-1B visa every year, also told the publication that “American businesses need high-skilled immigrants even more now to help fill the current labor shortage as the United States recovers from the pandemic.”

During the Trump administration, a series of policies spiked the H-1B denial rate to 24 percent by fiscal year 2018. For example, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) instituted a more stringent review policy that increased the rate of application denials. There was also a (failed) attempt to end the H-4 EAD, which allows spouses of H-1B holders to find employment in the U.S., as well as a temporary ban on all work visas for 2020, which angered many tech CEOs

The Trump administration proposed reforming the H-1B lottery system to favor applicants with advanced degrees and higher salaries. Once Trump left office, the Biden administration signaled that it would institute its own policies around H-1B visas, including a proposal to prioritize H-1B visas based on higher wages. However, Biden has yet to announce anything substantial in that arena, and the H-1B system still hinges on an annual lottery.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic and lingering visa restrictions had an impact on the number of H-1B workers currently in the United States, as well as the U.S. government’s H-1B lottery process. A December analysis of U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) data by Bloomberg showed that the number of engineering and mathematics workers on the H-1B “fell 12.6 percent in the fiscal year ending September 2021 compared to the previous year.” It’s too soon to tell how that might impact the broader rates of visa acceptance and denial. 

5 Responses to “H-1B Denial Rate Tumbles to 4 Percent as Trump Policies End”

  1. jake_leone

    We need to ask ourselves one important question. Do we want half the H-1b visas to go to Offshore Outsourcing companies, which pay the lowest salaries to a mediocre workforce, never sponsor anyone for a Green Card (or citizenship), and specialize in removing jobs from the United States to India.

    Or do we really want only the most talented people to be able to use the H-1b visa?

    Clearly, the Biden administration would rather the former than the latter. Biden said, out of no other motivation than spite, he would revert every single Trump change to the immigration program (which includes the H-1b program). And I told you about this, and so he has. He was candidate motivated by hate and that will only result in further problems down the road for the United States, our people, and our economy.

    Biden has stopped challenging the dubious H-1b applications of the Offshore Outsourcing companies, and that is why the rejection rate fell from 25% under Trump to 4% under Biden.

    Under Trump, Offshore Outsourcing companies faced a rightful 50% rejection rate, because they violate every single aspect and intent of the H-1b law, by deliberately using the H-1b program to bring in mediocre trainees for no other reason than to replace ordinary Americans on the job, force the better qualified Americans to train their H-1b replacement, and then ship the entire department, and all supporting jobs, to India.

    People (who want unlimited H-1b visas) will say, well it is better to have the jobs here in the U.S. even if they are filled by an H-1b visa. But nothing could be further from reality, because with half the H-1b visas going to Offshore Outsourcing companies, entire departments filled with jobs and all supporting jobs, are in fact removed from U.S. soil. It only takes a handful of H-1b workers to repeatedly gut, every 6 months, several hundred jobs from the United States.

    Literally, our weak recovery from the Great Recession under the Obama Administration can be tied to the Obama Administration completely FAILING to enforce the existing H-1b law and in doing so allowing the Offshore Outsourcing companies to take more than half the H-1b visas. And in doing so, build a 250 billion dollar per year Outsourcing Industry, in India, with America being the primary victim (80% of the business) of this Outsourcing industry.

    Biden is a complete idiot on this program. He could (if he would put his heart in the right place) literally turn this one program around, and in doing so drop the unemployment rate to 2%, but he won’t because it will prove how misguided and idiotic the Obama administration’s lack of action in the H-1b program actually was. He won’t because Big Tech gave the Biden campaign 100 million dollars to keep giving half the H-1b visas to Offshore Outsourcing companies.

    You need to pay very close attention to the actions and lobbying of Silicon Valley companies and groups like the Chamber of Commerce. They will talk the big talk about needing high skilled workers. But it is all a big lie. We know this from the DOJ case against Facebook for 2600+ cases of discrimination against better qualified local STEM/IT candidates. We know this because of the Emails (and criminal conspiracy) of the Silicon Valley no poaching scandal. We know this because the CoC opposed the change from a brain-dead lottery allocation of H-1b visas, to a more intelligent allocation based upon salary.

    What Big Tech wants (and therefore the sycophants in the Chamber of Commerce want) is an indentured workforce, that will stay tied to the company forever until Green Card (which never comes for people from India or China). Why do you think Green Card reform never passes? Silicon Valley doesn’t really want Green Card reform.

    They are all phonies and you need get the data, think clearly, pay attention to history, and arrive at a consciously moral awareness of the H-1b program in order to reform it properly.

    Career politicians like Joe Biden can never do this, because they only know what they are best at making deals and getting campaign contributions. And that has become an EVIL that has propagated so much further EVIL in our immigration system. The only thing I can do is laugh like so much a dark comedy that it is.

  2. It is natural that the denials have come down in this economy. The IT unemployment is at 2% and Big tech companies are making more money than ever!, thanks to H1B and American workers!

  3. Truth Hurts

    Your comment is longer than the article itself. Did you even bother to read it? You came up with your own numbers. Where did you get them? You gave yourself away more than once with comments like “Biden is a complete idiot …”, and numbers that are simply and obviously incorrect. Breitbart or Fox News is your primary source I suspect.