The number of H-1B visa denials and Requests for Evidence, or RFEs, rose sharply soon after President Trump issued the “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order in April 2017, according to a new report by the National Foundation for American Policy.

Key figures:

  • H-1B denials increased by 41 percent from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
  • In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, 69 percent of H-1B cases received RFEs, more than double the rate in the third quarter, and a huge surge compared with only 17 percent of H-1B cases receiving RFE’s during the final quarter under the Obama administration.
  • Denial rates for L-1A applicants rose significantly from 12.8 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 to 21.4 percent in the fourth quarter, and denials for L-1B petitions increased from 21.7 percent to 28.7 percent during the same period. The number of denials continued to remain high into the first half of fiscal year 2018 with a 30 percent average denial rate over the first two quarters.

The full report may be viewed here.

BAL Analysis: These figures released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirm that recent policy initiatives are impacting adjudications of high-skilled immigration petitions. It should be noted that while all companies have experienced an overall increase in RFEs, the rates vary across industries, with IT consulting companies being particularly targeted for RFEs and H-1B denials.  

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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