The new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) online H-1B Employer Data Hub shows that H-1B denial rates for both initial and renewal petitions have increased dramatically in the past two years, according to analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

USCIS launched the H-1B Employer Data Hub on April 1 to allow public access to H-1B data. The hub is searchable by company name and address, fiscal year, or NAICS industry code. The hub displays year-by-year data since 2009 for each company, the number of initial and continuing H-1B petitions USCIS approved and denied in each fiscal year. The USCIS website also provides downloadable files showing complete data sets for fiscal years 2009 to 2019.

Key figures:

  • Between fiscal years 2015 and 2018, denial rates for new H-1B petitions quadrupled from 6% to 24%.
  • In the most recent quarter for which statistics are available (October – December 2018), nearly one in three (32%) H-1B petitions for new employment were denied.
  • Denial rates of H-1B “continuing employment” petitions have also multiplied. Whereas in fiscal 2015, only 3% of continuing petitions were denied, in fiscal 2018 12% were denied, and in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, 18% were denied. Petitions for continued H-1B employment include employment with the same employer, change of employer and amended petitions.
  • Of the 27 companies listed as the top employers of H-1B workers, all but four experienced increased denial rates for new H-1B petitions, many going from denial rates ranging between 1% and 6% in fiscal 2015 to denial rates in the double digits (ranging between 13% and 62%) in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019. Ten of the top 27 companies saw denials of initial H-1B petitions increase by 40 percentage points or more.
  • IT consulting companies experienced some of the highest denial rates, many of them approaching or exceeding a denial rate of 50%.

Initial H-1B Petitions

Fiscal year Initial H-1B denial rate
2019 (first quarter only) 32%
2018 24%
2017 13%
2016 10%
2015 6%
2014 8%
2013 7%
2012 5%
2011 7%
2010 8%
2009 15%

Continuing Employment H-1B Petitions

Fiscal year Continuing employment H-1B denial rate
2019 (first quarter only) 18%
2018 12%
2017 5%
2016 4%
2015 3%
2014 3%
2013 3%
2012 3%
2011 3%
2010 5%
2009 6%

The full report by the National Foundation for American Policy is available here.

BAL Analysis: The data confirms the sharp increase in denials across all employers for both new and continuing employment of H-1B workers since President Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” executive order in 2017. While the most recent available data only covers the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, employers should anticipate that these trends will continue.

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

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