Between the first two quarters of the fiscal year, 2020, and the first two quarters of 2021, the denial rate for first H-1B applications declined considerably at some of the country’s largest software corporations and consulting firms.
That could be terrible news for critics of the H-1B programme who thought that the recent rise in denial rates would become a long-term trend. Business services and consulting firms like Infosys and Cognizant, frequently accused of subcontracting H-1B workers to other companies at undercut pay prices, saw their denial rate plummet.
The drops in denial rates for corporations like Amazon, Google, and Facebook were not quite as dramatic. “After court decisions and a legal settlement ended the Trump administration’s H-1B policies found to be unlawful, denial rates for H-1B petitions appear to have returned to more traditional levels,” the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), which broke down this data about denial rates, wrote in an accompanying report.
“However, those rules imposed considerable costs on firms, visa holders, and the economy, resulting in more labour and talent being transferred to other countries.”
The Trump administration has put a lot of effort into overhauling the H-1B visa, including several limits on the visa used by business services and consulting businesses.
As a result, many of those businesses used the legal system to fight back. Many of them, for example, filed a lawsuit against US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in early 2020, claiming that they were entitled to a $350 million refund on H-1B visa application fees.
In the midst of all of this back-and-forth, In addition, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that visa fees, including the H-1B visa, would be adjusted.
That new pricing structure (which includes a $4,000 renewal fee) appeared to be meant to make things considerably more expensive for the thousands of business services and consulting businesses that apply for H-1B visas each year.
However, it’s unclear whether significant H-1B visa adjustments are in the works under the Biden administration. Biden’s first regulatory plan, released this summer, hinted at the administration’s plan to “modernise” H-1B rules, although it’s unclear what that means.