Thousands of current U.S. tech workers have had their H-1B visas suddenly rejected thanks to new policies implemented by President Trump's administration.
Since 1990, the H-1B program has enabled U.S. companies to employ foreign workers on a temporary basis for jobs that "require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge." These visas are intended as a backstop for employers who can't find Americans to fill a position.
The government issues just 65,000 of these visas per year. Due to the high demand for tech skills, H-1B visas have always been both coveted and competitive. In 2018 alone, companies filed 419,000 petitions for both new and continuing visas. But over the last two years, new research finds, denial rates across both categories have spiked dramatically.
According to a recent analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonprofit that studies immigration, the denial rate for applicants who are trying to extend their visas grew from 4 percent in 2016 to 12 percent in 2018; the rate climbed even higher, to 18 percent, through the first quarter of 2019.
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