The Rise of H1-B Visa Rejections Catch the Attention of Federal Judges

Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that a set of guidelines set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has to lead to fewer visas being approved and a large number of rejections by the agency.

According to the H.R. Dive website, a guidance memo from 2010 had led to the policy, resulting in 33 cases being filed.  The judge found that USCIS had given special treatment to visa applicants from I.T. consulting businesses, causing a “dramatic slowing: of the visa approval process and reducing employers access to the petitions that had been filed.   

As of the first quarter of 2019, the level of H1-B visa rejections had reached 32%.  The judge found that this dramatic increase and the current levels of rejections did not follow applicable federal laws.  The judge ruled that the use of the 2010 memo could not be used as a basis for an H1-B visa rejection and could not be enforced. 

In addition to the current administration’s push of its policy to hire American workers over foreign workers,  those familiar with the matter also cite trends in fewer H1-B applications being submitted, more stringent restrictions on which overseas contractors are eligible for the program, a cap on the number of visas granted, and the suspension of the agency’s premium processing service.

Because many employers in the U.S. are having a difficult time filling positions, they have asked the Trump administration to ease some of its visa requirements and allow more H1-B visas to be granted to meet the current demand.  Despite the push for employers who are scrambling to find top talent wherever they can, officials have been reluctant to do so.