According to Barbara Janczer, she was recruited by Splunk as the youngest female product manager. However, she was not able to get a visa via the lawyers of the SF-based company because of the lottery system. She had to pay about $10000, hire an immigration lawyer and try for the H-1B visa a second time. In this second attempt, she had been given the “Request for Evidence,” or RFE. The RFE is a document sent out by the Government of the United States to the candidates who wish to get a visa as an additional step in the process of immigration. In simple words, the request for RFE means that the Government needs additional proof of an individual’s candidacy prior to denial or acceptance of the visa application that permits a foreign national to get employment in the United States.
Increase in RFE Demands has led to more H1B visa Denials
Janczer states that nothing can be planned – a person cannot plan to buy good furniture, etc., as they are unsure whether they will be in the country the next year. Over a period of time, the RFE demands sent to candidates who want to get an H-1B visa, has been increased silently by the United States Government. In the year 2015, as per the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), about 67,315 visas with the RFE documentation have been processed. The increase in RFE demands has led to more visa denials. In the year 2017, when Donald J. Trump was elected as President, the number of visa petitions that had been accepted with RFEs saw a decline by about 15 percent.
H-1B visas are granted to the highly skilled Indians
Many professionals have pointed out the executive order of Trump – “Buy American and Hire American” as an accelerator in the denials. His mandate of preventing fraud in the immigration system imposed policies that made sure the H-1B visas are granted to the highly skilled or the highly paid beneficiaries. As per the RFE, a worker will have to prove their capacity via extensive documentation along with an in-depth statement from an expert in the industry.
Tahmina Watson, a lawyer has worked on immigration cases for as long as since the year 2006. She says that the vague language in the RFE is deliberate. Though there has been an increase in the documentation, there is no transparency in the measures to meet the increased demands. She says that from October 2017 onwards, there were denials in specific cases that would have got approved earlier with the documentation. She indicates that a few groups have faced an impact – financial analysts along with computer programmers who were the initial casualties of the RFE’s. This has impacted small startup firms.