Immigration experts and legislators in the US and abroad are questioning the apparent rise of rejections of H1B visa applicants and L1 work visa applicants. According to a Congressional hearing, in 2012, there was a 26% rate for requests for additional on H1B petitions and a 17% denial rate for those applications. Legislators and immigration experts are still debating whether the trend is a long-term one and are still debating about what has caused the high the denial rate for the application, which was higher in 2011 than in recent years.
What is not being debated is the possible impact of the rejections for overseas applicants and for the US economy. Many overseas professionals, including tech professionals from India and other parts of Asia, rely on H1B and L1 work visas for work in the US. The high rates of rejection mean professional woes for these workers, Many immigration experts and legislators in the US also say that the high rejection rate could hurt US businesses, who often rely on foreign professionals to fill positions in the US.
Some officials at a recent Congressional hearing claimed that some H1B visa applicants are being denied for weak reasons, and questions have been raised about the Obama administration’s handling of the issue. According to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee’s Immigration Policy and Enforcement Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, Elton Gallegly, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) records show that some visa categories have been showing increasing rates of rejections between 2008 and 2010. According to Gallegly, some business owners in the US have also expressed concerns that their visa applications are getting more requests for additional evidence than in recent years and that more visa applications are being rejected, making US employers worry about the future of their businesses.
According to Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, during the current administration denial of requests for additional evidence has increased by up to 500%. Lofgren also claimed that in some cases work and business-related visas are being rejected due to insubstantial reasons and bureaucratic errors, rather than the eligibility of the petitioners. According to the Congresswoman, in 2004 the denial rate for H-1B visa applications was 11 percent, compared with 17% in 2011. In 2004, the rates for requests for additional information were 4%, whereas the rates for 2011 were 26%. In 2004, the request for evidence rates for L-1B visa applications was 2%, compared to 63% in 2011.