NFAP Report Confirms Significant Increase in H-1B RFE and L-1 Denial Rates


A recent report by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) confirms that the USCIS has exponentially increased the number of requests for evidence (“RFE”) it has issued for H-1B petitions and denials of L-1 petitions this past year as a result of the Trump administration’s “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order. 


Notably, for H-1B petitions, the RFE rate jumped from 17.3% in Q1 (under the Obama administration) to 69% in Q4 2017.   In fact, the number of RFEs issued in Q4 alone almost equaled the total number of RFEs issued in the first three quarters of FY 2017 (63,599).  Heightened scrutiny of H-1B filings has continued in FY 2018, which began in October 2017.


Denials of L-1B petitions increased between Q1 and Q4 of 2017, from 21.7% to 28.7%.  High denial rates have continued in FY 2018, with a 30.5% rate between October and December 2017, and a 29.2% rate between January and March 2018.  On balance, RFE rates for L-1B petitions (45.7%) remained relatively consistent throughout FY 2017.


Similarly, denial rates for L-1A petitions increased in 2017.  Overall, L-1A denial rates increased by 67%, from 12.8% to 21.4% between Q1 and Q4 of FY 2017.  The RFE rate (37.2%) remained fairly consistent as well throughout FY 2017.


NFAP’s statistical findings confirm that employers face greater challenges in sponsoring high-skilled foreign nationals to work temporarily in the U.S. 


NFAP is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, non-partisan research organization with former Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), James W. Ziglar on its advisory board.