H-1B Visa denials at all-time high, about half of top IT companies’ work visa applications rejected in the past year by the United States.
Work visa denials to employees of India’s largest IT services exporters has risen to an all-time high, according to data sourced from a US-based research foundation, as per ET reports.
India’s four major software services exporters Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, HCL Technologies and Wipro have seen around half of their work visa applications rejected in the past year as the Donald Trump administration pushed for more employment and higher wages for American workers.
The visa denial rate for TCS has gone all time high from 6% in FY15 to 37% during the first quarter of FY19 (October-December 2018), according to a report by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).
National Foundation for American Policy sourced data from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that follows a October-September financial year.
The denial percentage for Infosys has gone up to a whopping 57% in the first quarter of FY19 from 2% in FY15 while the number for HCL has increased to 43% from 2% in FY15, as per ET reports.
In the case of Wipro, it has shot up to 62% from 7% in FY15, data from National Foundation for American Policy showed.
“The numbers have shot through the roof,” said Shivendra Singh, vice president of the global trade department at industry body Nasscom.
The high denial rates and request for evidence (RFE) are impacting the ability of Indian companies to service clients in the key US market besides making it more expensive, he added.
Nasscom’s Shivendra Singh said the industry grouping has been arguing strongly for the US to streamline the process so that “(Indian) IT companies continue to make the US economy more competitive by working with more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies, majority being American companies”.
New data released by US Citizenship and Immigration Services also shows a spike in request for evidences and visa denials.
The petitions approved with request for evidences for the first three quarters of fiscal 2019 was at 62.7% with an initial denial rate of 16.1%, a result of President Trump’s Buy American, Hire American executive order. In fiscal 2015, approval with request for evidences was as high as 83.2%.
In April this year, Infosys said the rising attrition in its ranks was partially due to the sharp decline in H-1B visa approvals and said it had to come up with a “new value proposition” to help retain employees.
Last month, a group of US lawmakers expressed their concern over the rising request for evidences and visa denials, saying it was leading to the tech industry in Toronto growing faster than in Silicon Valley or Washington.
The Trump administration’s executive order which seeks to create more employment and higher wages for American workers has resulted in increased scrutiny on non-immigrant visa applications and a far higher rate of denial, industry experts said.
What is H-1B Visa?
The H-1B is a visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H) that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.
A specialty occupation requires the application of specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent of work experience. The duration of stay is three years, extendable to six years; after which the visa holder may need to reapply.
The H-1B visa has its roots in the H1 visa of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952; the split between H-1A (for nurses) and H-1B was created by the Immigration Act of 1990. 65,000 H-1B visas were made available each fiscal year, out of which employers could apply through Labor Condition Applications.
By: Abhinav Ranjan, Editorial Desk, DKODING Media