D-FW Needs Workers. Here's Why H-1B Visas Are Being Increasingly Delayed Or Denied

The approval rate of H-1B visas has dropped from 96 percent in 2015 to 85 percent in 2018 in new data released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and now there's now a clearer picture as to why.Immigrants with specialized skills say they are being denied visas or encountering lengthy delays because the U.S. government is increasingly asking for evidence that the job they're seeking is visa-worthy, according to an Associated Press report on the data. The Trump administration has said it wants to crack down on work visas issued under the controversial program. Government requests for evidence, which delay the visa process, have increased overall to 60 percent since 2015. Just three years ago, they were at 35 percent — a number considered high at the time.Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst for Washington, D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute, said the data shows how effective the Trump administration's efforts are in limiting applications from foreign consulting companies. Her institute supports immigration programs.Approved petitions of H-1B visas for foreign consulting companies saw a "pretty significant" decrease between 2017 and 2018, according to Pierce. "It does look like the administration is hitting them, and that is their intention," she said.Employers in Dallas-Fort Worth are some of the most active users of the program, even more so than those in Silicon Valley, according to data from Pew Research Center. The H-1B program is seen as a point of strength for businesses in D-FW, including tech companies that rely on it to find highly skilled American workers to fill their ranks. From 2010 to 2016, Dallas-Fort Worth employers received 74,000 H-1B visas, the second most of any major metro area behind New York City, according to a Pew Research Center report.D-FW leads most of the nation in job creation, and it depends at least partially on foreign workers to fill those jobs. In 2018, employers across the country were struggling to fill 6.7 million job openings with qualified workers.The No. 1 reason cited by the government for delays or denials is an applicant's failure to specify that the position qualifies as a specialty occupation worthy of the visa. When requirements aren't met, the department issues a request for evidence, delaying the process and leaving the worker in limbo.Officials point to the president's "Buy American and Hire American" executive order as the reasoning behind the number of evidence requests, a move some fear will continue to narrow the definition of who qualifies to work in the United States with H-1B visas. The executive order aims to protect economic interests by "rigorously" enforcing hiring policies governing non-American workers.  Continue reading...

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