What does the future look like for the H-1B Visa Program?

Recent reports from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) show that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is denying H-1B visa petitions at higher rates than ever. NFAP reports show in 2015 H-1B visas were being denied at a rate of 6%. This year, the denial rate is averaging a whopping 24%. Houston immigration attorneys, William Fong and Gary Ilagan, break down why this is happening, what the increase of denials means for employers and international employees, and what’s ahead for the H-1B visa program.

What caused this rapid increase in H-1B visas being denied?

With the standards and regulations in place by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL), USCIS is meant to follow these regulations throughout the process of approving or denying H-1B visas. However, with this dramatic increase in H-1B visas being denied, it is apparent USCIS has changed the standard they use to approve H-1B visas without notice or legal backing.

What does the future look like for the H-1B visa?

Historically the H-1B visa has been a great option for employers seeking to bring the U.S. international talent to fill specialty occupation positions account for labor shortages in industries such as technology and engineering. Employers filing for foreign talent requires the individuals to possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or the U.S. equivalent or higher.

The primary concern for attorneys representing employers is with the high rates of H-1B visas being denied, it will deter them from filing H-1B petitions. With the current presidential administration, the future of the H-1B visa option for employers is unknown. While the prediction is that the H-1B visa denial rates remain high moving forward, the hope is to see official legislation regarding this change in standards so attorneys can effectively advise employers and prepare H-1B visa petitions successfully.

Why should employers continue to file H-1B visa petitions?

The H-1B visa program remains a great opportunity for employers to find international employees and specialist that make a positive contribution to the growth of an organization. While some see the high denial rate as a negative move for the future of the H-1B visa, the demand for employers to file remains high and is increasing. With a positive outlook on the job market and the employment rate at all-time highs, the demand for qualified specialists across all industries continues to increase.

If changes in legislation are made paired with the increasing employment rates, the H-1B visa program will continue to be a successful and positive option for both employers and foreign employees.

How can Fong Ilagan help with your H-1B and other employment- based immigration needs?

For more information on H-1B visas and other employment-based visa options, contact the attorneys at Fong Ilagan at 713.772.2300. Or contact us by submitting an online form. Our experienced team of immigration attorneys will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your inquiry. We look forward to serving you!


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