Recent U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) statistics confirm what many employers and attorneys have believed: It is harder to get an H-1B petition approved these days, and USCIS is issuing more requests for evidence (RFEs) in H-1B cases. In fiscal year (FY) 2015, USCIS approved 95.7% of H-1B petitions filed. By contrast, in FY 2018, USCIS approved 84.5% of H-1B petitions filed.
In FY 2015, USCIS completed 67,312 H-1B cases that had an RFE. In FY 2018, that number more than doubled to 150,580. In FY 2015, USCIS approved 83.2% of those H-1B petitions that had an RFE. By contrast, in FY 2018, USCIS approved 62.3% of those H-1B petitions that had an RFE.
The H-1B approval rate continues to drop. In the first quarter of FY 2019, which ended December 31, 2018, USCIS approved 75.4% of H-1B petitions filed, down over 9% from the FY2018 approval rate.