The rate of H-1B visa approvals has dropped from 93% for fiscal year 2017 to 85% in 2018. A total of 335,000 H-1B visas, including first and new applications, were approved, out of 396,300 completed applications for FY 2018.

According to numbers released by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a year before, there were 373,400 applications approved out of 403,300 received.

Data shows that the approval rate has been dropping since 2015 as follows:

  • In 2015, the approval rate was 96.
  • 94% in 2016.
  • 93% in 2017.
  • In 2018 was marked the most significant drop, to an approval rate of 85%.

On the other hand, the number of Requests for Evidence issued by USCIS to H-1B visa applicants has encountered a very high increase in 2018. According to data on delayed processing of H-1B visa applications, in 2018 there was a drastic increase in the rate of Request for Evidence issued last year.

The RFEs issued by the end of 2018 spiked up by 60 percent, compared to 2015’s high of 35 percent. Statistics also show that the rate of H-1B approvals fell from 96 percent in 2015, to 85 percent in 2018. Another report shows that the USCIS adjudicators were much more likely to issue a Request for Evidence for applications from Indians than for people from other countries.

The top cases when USCIS required additional documents from H-1B petitioners in 2018, are when the applicant did not establish that the job they were offered in the US qualifies as a specialty occupation and for not proving a valid employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary, among others.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant US work visa which enables foreigners to work in the US in specific job positions such as professors, doctors, lawyers, engineers, IT Specialists, etc. It is also known as Person in Specialty Occupation Visa since all applicants are required to possess a university degree to be eligible.

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