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Challenges of H-1B petitions up this year

Among the immigration matters that might come up for U.S. businesses in their efforts towards their workforce goals are H-1B visa matters. H-1B visas are a type of temporary U.S. work visa that employers can seek out for specialty workers from other countries.

Petitioning for an H-1B visa for a prospective hire is a complex process. Additionally, there are certain things that could create added difficulties for a business when it comes to this process. So, a business may want an immigration attorney’s help and guidance throughout the process of pursuing an H-1B visa for a foreign worker it wants to bring onto its staff.

Among the things that can pose added difficulties for businesses when they are petitioning for an H-1B visa for a foreign worker is if the government challenges the petition. The government can do this through issuing a request for evidence. Federal data indicates such challenges have, thus far, been much more common this year than they were the previous year.

The data was on the number of requests for evidence the federal government issued against H-1B petitions between the start of January and the end of August in 2017. Reportedly, 85,000 such challenges were issued. This total is 45 percent higher than the total from the same period last year. It also points to 2017 having an H-1B challenge rate that exceeds every year of the Obama administration except one (2009).

The number of H-1B petitions was also up year-over-year in the 2017 January to August period. However, this increase was much more modest than the increase in challenges. The increase in petitions came in at under 3 percent.

According to an American Immigration Lawyers Association review of recent requests for evidence, among the H-1B petitions that have shown the highest likelihood of experiencing such challenges are those related to computer systems analyst or software developer positions.

One wonders what impacts this trend of increased H-1B petition challenges will ultimately have on:

  • The approval rates of H-1B petitions.
  • The overall complexity of the H-1B process.
  • The willingness of employers to pursue H-1B visas for foreign workers.

Source: Reuters, “Trump administration red tape tangles up visas for skilled foreigners, data shows,” Yeganeh Torbati, Sept. 20, 2017

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