U.S. Government Reveals Reasons for Delays in Processing H-1B Visa Applications


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released data showing the most common reasons for the high rates of delays in the processing and denials of H-1B visa applications. These visas are designed to allow highly-skilled foreign nationals to work for companies in the U.S.

Overall, the rate of H-1B visa approvals dropped from 96% in 2015 to 85% in 2018. Similarly, delays in the processing of these visas rose by 60%, due to the federal government’s “requests for evidence” to prove the legitimacy of the visa applications. Furthermore, delays in processing made it much more likely that USCIS ultimately would deny an H-1B visa request. The approval rate for delayed applications fell to 60% by 2018, as compared to 80% in 2015.

U.S. Government Reveals Reasons for Delays in Processing H-1B Visa Applications

The top reason given by USCIS for issuing requests for evidence from visa applicants is a failure of the petitioners to establish that the positions qualify as specialty occupations. Although the technology industry has heavily relied on H-1B visas to hire foreign nationals with special skills, the visa program has come under attack as being abused by outsourcing companies and used to replace American workers with cheaper foreign labor.

Other common reasons for USCIS issuing requests for evidence, thus slowing the processing of H-1B visa applications, include a failure of the applicant to prove the existence of a valid employer-employee relationship with the foreign national or qualifying off-site work for the foreign national in a specialty occupation for the entire duration of the visa requested. Another common reason for delays in processing was the failure of an employer to prove that the foreign national was qualified to perform the services in a specialty occupation.

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