H1-B visas have long been an important form of employment-based immigration. People in Indiana should know that H1-Bs have allowed companies to fill high-skilled jobs with workers from overseas. Often, when it comes to fields like math, science and technology, there is only a small pool of talent to choose from. There may only be a handful of qualified candidates in the world, and American companies need to be able to reach them to keep their competitive edge.
A political issue
However, since 2017, the president has been opposed to the H1-B program. New regulations have been put in place that make it harder than ever for companies to bring in skilled foreign workers. In the second quarter of 2020, H1-B visa denials were many times higher than they have been under previous administrations. As immigration policy evolves, big business is very interested in what will happen to employment-based immigration.
This can easily be seen in the data provided by USCIS. Of the 25 companies that use the most H1-B visas, denials were higher in 2020 than they were in 2015. Big tech companies, including Google and Infosys, were among the companies who saw an increase in the number of requests that were denied. Deloitte, Cognizant and PriceWaterhouseCoopers were also heavily impacted.
Some people speculate this may be because of high unemployment in 2020. It’s possible that America doesn’t want to be seen “giving” good jobs to non-citizens while millions of citizens are out of work. Anywhere from 15%-59% of H1-B applications were denied in the first two quarters of 2020. This is a stark contrast to the 1%-5% denial rate seen in the first two quarters of 2015. Companies dealing with this issue should consult a skilled immigration lawyer for help navigating the new landscape.