Trump Administration Increases Scrutiny, RFEs for H-1B Petitions

March 12, 2019

By Immigration Group

This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Laura Danielson is an active member.

Permission required signAccording to statistics released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the percentage of H-1B cases with requests for evidence (RFEs) has greatly increased. In the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2017, the rate of H-1B RFEs was less than 30 percent. In the first quarter of FY 2019, that rate skyrocketed to 60 percent. At the same time, the percentage of H-1B completions with an RFE that were approved has fallen, from almost 80 percent in the first quarter of FY 2017 to about 60 percent in the first quarter of FY 2019.

Approval rates were much higher for certain large companies: Apple, Facebook, Google, Intel and Microsoft reportedly all had 99 percent approval rates; Amazon and Cisco had a 98 percent approval rate.

According to reports, a frequent reason for the RFEs was to ask companies to prove that the offered job was in a “specialty occupation.” Other questions related to valid employer-employee relationships and specific assignments. Numerous lawsuits have been filed in federal court challenging recent H-1B denials.

The USCIS statistics can be found here.
An article about several lawsuits is available here.