Work Visas: RFE and Denial Rates Soaring

Soaring denial and RFE rates for L-1 and H-1B petitions are hurting U.S. business

We knew it but no-one official was acknowledging it. Finally, a recent study from the National Foundation for American Policy  – a non-partisan public policy research organized based in Virginia, released data showing that USCIS has dramatically increased denials of L-1 and H-1B petitions over the past four years, harming the competitiveness of U.S. employers and encouraging companies to keep more jobs and resources outside of the U.S. The data indicates that much of the increase in denials involves Indian-born professional and researchers. The study shows that USCIS changed the standard for approving L-1B and other petitions beginning in FY 2008 and denied or delayed 63%-90% of all L-1B petitions in 2011. Employers report the time lost due to the increase in denials and Requests for Evidence are costing them millions of dollars in project delays and contract penalties, while aiding competitors that operate exclusively outside the United States, the report found.

Along with increased denials have come skyrocketing rates of “Requests for Evidence” or RFEs, which are used by USCIS adjudicators to obtain more information in lieu of making an immediate decision on a petition. Employers note that simply the act of an RFE can result in months of delays, affecting costs and potentially delaying projects and contract performance.

“The dramatic increase in denial rates and Requests for Evidence for employment petitions without any change in the law or regulations raises questions about the training, supervision and procedures of the career bureaucracy that adjudicates petitions and the U.S. government’s commitment to maintaining a stable business climate for companies competing in the global economy,” the report concludes.  Our own experience, especially with our San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley clients confirms these conclusions.

Article categories: Employer-Based Immigration Law, Immigration Policy and Legislative Initiatives, Intra-company Transfers, Work Permits

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