The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ombudman’s report to Congress for 2015 confirms what many employers and their representatives already knew – we continue to face high rates of requests for evidence (RFEs) and denials of high-skilled nonimmigrant petitions, and a very low chance of success challenging such denials in administrative appeals.
Some interesting facts and figures from the report include:
- Nearly 25% of H-1B petitions receive an RFE. The California Service Center’s RFE rates were higher than that of the Vermont Service Center. RFEs challenging whether the H-1B position was a specialty occupation were found to be unduly restrictive.
- More than 40% of all L-1A petitions for multi-national managers and executives received an RFE, and nearly 50% of L-1B petitions for specialized knowledge employees were RFE’d.
- While the denial rate of 4% for H-1Bs is relatively low, the denial rates of 19% for L-1As and 29% for L-1Bs are fairly significant.
- Fewer than 10% of appeals on denials of employment-based petitions are successful, which discourages employers from taking on the trouble and expense of filing an appeal.