The percentage of H-1B cases that were returned with requests for evidence (RFEs) in the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2019 is significantly higher when compared to those returned in the first quarter of FY 2017. According to reports, a frequent reason for the RFEs was asking companies to prove that the offered job was in a “specialty occupation.”

According to statistics released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in the first quarter of FY 2017, the rate of H-1B RFEs was less than 30%. In the first quarter of FY 2019, that rate skyrocketed to 60%. At the same time, the percentage of H-1B completions with an RFE that were approved has fallen, from almost 80% in the first quarter of FY 2017 to about 60% in the first quarter of FY 2019.

Approval rates were much higher for certain large companies; Apple, Facebook, Google, Intel, and Microsoft reportedly all had 99% approval rates; Amazon and Cisco had a 98% approval rate.

Other questions related to valid employer-employee relationships and specific assignments. Numerous lawsuits have been filed in federal court challenging recent H-1B denials.

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