US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved a significantly higher share of H-1B visas this year as the demand for tech talent from around the world continues to increase. In the quarter to June, the approval rate was 98.1% compared to around 84% in 2019.
During Trump’s presidency, approval rates had fallen, with USCIS rejecting more applications and agents requiring a higher degree of supporting documentation (RFEs) to be submitted.
Last summer, USCIS revoked two memos related to the approval of H-1B visas following a court decision surrounding the IT industry body, ITServe Alliance. A district court had ordered the agency to disregard the ‘Neufield Memo’ which meant that petitioners had to establish a specific employer-employee relationship. This, plus another which required the submission of detailed itineraries for the new employee, was often used by USCIS to refuse approval on visa applications from certain IT companies.
Last month, USCIS announced that it would conduct a second lottery for the next fiscal year because it had not received enough applications to meet the Congressionally mandated cap. Each year, the US issues 65,000 new H-1B visas, and another 20,000 for those who have received their Masters’ degree in the United States. Immigration observers have been calling for an overhaul of the visa application process, including the removal of the lottery system altogether, under which employers have to currently apply for visas over six months before the person can actually be deployed.
The standard H-1B window opens in March, with successful ‘lottery winners’ able to submit their full application from the beginning of April. The earliest these applicants may work is the beginning of the fiscal year, which is October 1st.
We have helped thousands of foreign nationals secure H-1B visa status for highly skilled jobs in the United States. Get in touch today to get started on your application for 2022.
© Margaret W. Wong & Associates 2021. The above text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.