USCIS releases annual stats for FY2019: H-1B, L approval rates remain low, with high number of RFEs

15 Oct 19

UNITED STATES

According to annual statistics for fiscal year 2019 released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, approval rates for H-1B, L and other categories remain low and the number of requests for evidence, or RFEs, remains high, compared to the previous four fiscal years.

Key points:

  • H-1B approvals. The overall approval rate for H-1B petitions in fiscal 2019 was 84.8%, down from a high of 95.7% in fiscal 2015.
  • H-1B RFEs. Forty percent of H-1B petitions were subject to RFEs in 2019, and the approval rate for H-1B petitions that were subject to RFEs dropped to 65.4%.
  • L approvals. Approvals of L-1A and L-1B petitions in 2019 sank to a five-year low of 71.9% compared to a high of 85% in 2016.
  • L petition RFEs. Well over half (54.3%) of L petitions were subject to RFEs. About one in two L petitions that were subject to RFEs (50.8%) were approved.
Fiscal Year H-1B Approvals H-1B Petitions – RFE Rate* H-1B Approval Rate with RFEs
2015 95.7% 22.3% 83.2%
2016 93.9% 20.8% 78.9%
2017 92.6% 21.4% 73.6%
2018 84.5% 38% 62.4%
2019 84.8% 40.2% 65.4%

 

Fiscal Year L Approvals L Petitions – RFE Rate* L Approval Rate with RFEs
2015 83.7% 34.3% 53.5%
2016 85.0% 32.1% 55.6%
2017 80.8% 36.2% 49.4%
2018 77.8% 45.6% 52.9%
2019 71.9% 54.3% 50.8%

*Completed petitions

BAL Analysis: The statistics for fiscal year 2019 (October 2018 through September 2019) confirm that USCIS continues to tighten adjudications as reflected in the low approval rates of H-1B and L petitions and RFEs rates reaching a five-year high.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@balglobal.com.

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