The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released data for the second quarter (Q2) of fiscal year (FY) 2020 regarding employer-sponsored nonimmigrant visa categories. The data shows that the overall request for evidence (RFE) and denial trends are consistent with the Trump Administration’s directive to tighten employment-based visa eligibility.

H-1B Data for Q2 FY 2020

Q2 FY 2020’s H-1B approval rate was 87.1%, which was actually up almost 4% from the Q2 FY 2019. However, the H-1B approval rate is well below FY 2015’s overall rate of 95.7%.

Q2 FY 2020’s H-1B RFE rate was 35.8%, which is significantly higher than FY 2015’s rate of 22.3%. While the odds of approval following an RFE increased to 68.2% for Q2 FY 2020, this is still well below FY 2015’s rate of 83.2%.

L-1 Data for Q2 FY 2020

Q2 FY 2020’s L-1 approval rate was 74.3%, which is an increase from the same period in FY 2019. Yet, this is still well below FY 2015’s rate of 83.7%.

TQ2 FY 2020’s L-1 RFE rate was 53.6%, which is significantly higher than FY 2015’s rate of 34.3%. The odds of approval following an RFE increased to 55.3%.

TN Data for Q2 FY 2020

Q2 FY 2020’s TN approval rate was 88.7%, which is well under FY 2015’s rate of 95.1%.

Q2 FY 2020’s TN RFE rate was 25%. The odds of approval following RFE was 58%, which is nearly 15% lower than FY 2015’s post-RFE approval rate.

Please note that this does not include TN applications at ports of entry or U.S. consulates.

O-1 Data for Q2 FY 2020

Q2 FY 2020’s O-1 approval rate was 89%, which is quite a drop from its recent high 94.1% in FY 2017.

Q2 FY 2020’s O-1 RFE rate increased to 30.1%. The odds of approval following an RFE also decreased to 64.8%.

Conclusion

It is important to note that these trends are consistent with the Trump Administration’s “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order. While there were minor improvements for outcomes for H-1B, L-1, and TNs, RFE rates increased or stayed at already high levels.

The presidential proclamation directed the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor to review the impact of nonimmigrant workers on U.S. workers, including H-1B and L-1. What can result from this report are future restrictions on nonimmigrant employment categories, including higher RFE and denial rates. Our office will keep you updated on anything related to this matter.