H-1B denial rates continued to drop precipitously in the 2021 fiscal year, returning to pre-Trump administration levels, according to an analysis of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

FY 2021 marked the third straight year in which new employment H-1B denial rates dropped after peaking in FY 2018.

Fiscal Year New Employment H-1B Denial Rate
2021 4%
2020 13%
2019 21%
2018 24%
2017 13%
2016 10%
2015 6%

The lower denial rate in recent years is at least in part due to legal challenges that forced USCIS to issue new guidance on the adjudication of H-1B visas in June 2020

“NFAP found the denial rates in FY 2021 and FY 2015 to be similar for employers, meaning the Trump years were an aberration due to imposing restrictive policies that courts found to be unlawful,” the NFAP analysis said. The NFAP added that while the reversal of Trump administration policies is most responsible for the decline, “employers and attorneys give the Biden administration credit for adopting a more measured approach to business immigration.”

The NFAP analysis is available here.

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

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