The USCIS in conjunction with the National Foundation for American policy have crunched the numbers and determined H1-B denial rates for 2020 and 2021. Importantly, as 2020 represented the start of the Biden Administration and a different era in immigration, numbers from the Trump years vs. the Biden years look different.

The H1-B visa is an important non-immigrant visa that many foreign nationals use as leverage to support an employment based adjustment of status (I-485 application) in the United States, and therefore lead them on a path to legal permanent resident (LPR) status.

The Data

The USCIS Employer data hub gives us great information on all of the denial rates of H1-B applicants all the way back to 2010, and up until FY 2021. Via their dataset, we can see that denial rates were unusually high in FY 2018 and FY 2019, at 24 and 21 percent, respectively.[1] However, once many issues were settled with Trump era policies, including the unnecessary vetting, and the blank space application denials, denial rates started to lessen. For example, at the end of 2021, the H1-B denial rate dropped to 4 percent. This  is on par with what denial rates were preceding the Trump years as well. For example, the average denial rate from FY 2010 to FY 2015 was 6.8 percentage points.[2]

Employers

The Employer data hub also gives us insights into several highly profitable American companies, and their change in acceptance rates from 2020 to 2021. For example, Deloitte, a consulting firm, had a drop of 11 percentage points in terms of their denials issued in the 2021. Accenture, a technology company, also recorded a 16 percentage point drop. Additionally, Ernst & Young, which has offices in the U.S. and in many other countries, had a drop of 4 percentage points.

Google and Facebook combined had over 2,500 approved H1-B petitions in FY 2021.[3]

The fact that the denial rate continues to decline shows us that, after a pandemic year, there are definite signs of the economy improving for immigrants even if there is still a USCIS backlog in many different family based categories. It also tells us that employers in general have to jump through less red tape in order to have their employment based petitions filed and that the overall situation is improving slightly.

Keywords
USCISH1-B