US Confirmed more H-1B Visas this Year Despite Stricter Scrutiny
US has approved a very higher number of H1B visa applications for both initial and extension visa for continued employment. This year, showing that the demand for these work visas continues and sustained. This has become a relief for the Indian people who are dominant holders of H-1B visas, especially after processing regulations got more binding post-2015.
As per the previous reports, in 2015, 2.88 lakh applications were approved i.e around 95.7% by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and in 2019, the number reached 3.89 lakh i.e around 84.8%, up from last year's 3.35 lakh (84.5%).
In past years, more than 70% of the aggregate H-1B visa applications for new jobs and visa extensions have been approved for Indian people. Local hiring in the USA may have resulted only in a slight drop in this figure, says immigration experts.
Snehal Batra, managing attorney, NPZ Law Group says, "It used to be that if the job required a minimum of a bachelor's degree and the beneficiary (whose H-1B visa was being sponsored by the employer) possessed this qualification, the H-1B application was likely to be approved. Not anymore, as is reflected in the spate of requests for evidence (RFEs) and lower approvals post an RFE."
In the earlier, USCIS had said the top three reasons for an RFE are to
1. Ascertain whether the job is a specialty occupation to warrant the hiring of an H-1B worker
2. To ascertain a bona fide employer-employee relationship
3. To ascertain the availability of work at third-party worksites, where the employee would be deputed during the H-1B visa tenure.
Even after additional information is submitted to USCIS under an RFE, there is a spike in denial of applications. In fact, applications for visa extensions are subject to the same rigorous scrutiny as new applications.
For now, according to experts, determination of whether a job is specialized or not is an aspect that will continue to command the processing of H-1B visa applications.