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56% of L-1B visa applications from India rejected in 2014

L-1B visa issuing hit historic low in 2014.

By Raif Karerat

WASHINGTON, DC: Foreign nationals are having a more difficult time of getting hired and entering the country under L-1B visas, according to a report released by the National Foundation for American Policy.

In 2014, the denial rate for L-1B petitions rose to a historic high of 35 percent, the report states front and center. It marks the fourth straight year that the figure has risen. The NFAP states the rate was as low as 6 percent as recently as 2006.

The biggest increase in denials affected Indian nationals trying to get into the USA. Applications for Indians were denied 56% of the time, compared with 22% for Chinese, 21% for Mexicans and 19% for French, according to data obtained by the foundation through a Freedom of Information Act request by USA Today.

Stuart Anderson, executive director of the NFAP, told the newspaper the steady hike in L-1B denials was catalyzed by the recession of 2008, which led to a “protectionist culture at the immigration enforcement agency in favor of American technology workers.

According to Anderson, denying visas to Indians and others with high-tech backgrounds is a “misguided attempt” to protect U.S. workers and will end up forcing companies to outsource even more jobs overseas.

“If you’re making it more difficult to transfer employees to work in America, then you’re more likely to see that work take place outside the United States,” he said of the counterproductive strategy.

However, Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, believes the L-1B visa program, which allows U.S. companies to bring in workers with “specialized knowledge” to the United States from overseas, is being abused by both American and Indian companies and consequently pushing out the higher-priced American workforce.

On Tuesday the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to consider a bipartisan bill that would expand and possibly more than double the number of visas granted each year. Some at the hearing disagreed with Vaughan’s stance, calling it shortsighted.

“The overwhelming weight of the current research on immigration shows that in our dynamic labor market, skilled immigrants complement their U.S.-born counterparts,” said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council. “Skilled immigrants’ contributions to the U.S. economy help create new jobs and new opportunities for economic expansion.”

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