Why Were 200,000+ Highly Skilled Applicants Denied U.S. Work Visas Last Year?

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Visa denials for foreign-born professionals increased by a whopping 41% between the third and fourth quarter of last year.

Applying for a work visa is, more often than not, a long and difficult process. There are a bunch of visa denial reasons, but when you’re a highly skilled worker with a job offer from an employer, your chances for success are much higher. However, last year, over 200,000 highly skilled workers with job offers from employers were denied U.S. work visas or were asked to submit more information.

According to a recent report from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), around 83,670 work visa petitions (officially known as the H-1B visa) were completely refused, while 126,786 received a Request for Evidence (RFE) in 2017.

The H-1B visa denials for foreign-born professionals increased by a whopping 41% between the third and fourth quarter of last year, while the rate of RFEs increased by 46%.

Visa denial reasons: What happened?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to NFAP, more H-1B visa applications were denied soon after President Donald Trump issued his “Buy American and Hire American” executive order on April 18, 2017.

The report noted that because of the high cost — both in terms of time and money — employers and attorneys only apply for individuals that have a good chance of gaining approval. Thus, this increase in denial rates and RFEs are indicative of a change in government policies.

“The data document how the Trump administration is limiting the admission of high-skilled foreign nationals, even though economists believe America greatly benefits from the entry of foreign-born scientists and engineers,” says the NFAP report.

Source: Pexels

According to the report, the high volume of denials even among the most highly skilled applicants shows that the Trump administration wants less immigration in general, not “merit-based” immigration.

It also pointed out that in US universities, international students make up 81% of full-time graduate students in electrical engineering and 79% in computer science. These new policies makes it seem like the Trump administration does not want these international students to work in the U.S. 

What do you think of these visa denial reasons?

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