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State Department Visa Denials Greatly Increased in 2018

A recent Forbes article highlighted new data from fiscal year (FY) 2018, which shows that federal government policies that have hindered legal immigration have caused a significant decrease in the number of visas granted. Among other policies, “extreme vetting” of visa applicants, the Buy American and Hire American executive order, and changes to the State Department’s definition of “public charge” all have led to more potential immigrants receiving visa denials.

According to the National Foundation for American Policy, between FY 2017 and 2018, visa denials increased 39% for immigrants and five percent for non-immigrants, or those seeking only temporary visas. These denials resulted in the federal government issuing seven percent fewer temporary visas and five percent fewer immigrant visas during the same time period.

State Department Visa Denials Greatly Increased in 2018

These statistics also show that the number of denials based on “public charge” grounds increased over 300% during this time period, which is directly attributable to the administration’s changes in the policies in the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual. This amounted to 13,450 denials of visas on this basis. Almost 8,000 individuals were able to overcome the initial denial, but an unknown number of those are traceable to denials from previous years, rather than from the time period at issue. Plus, those who successfully overcame the initial visa denial simply could show new evidence, such as evidence of increased incomes since the time of the denial.

From the perspective of American businesses seeking to hire foreign workers, “extreme vetting” procedures have caused workers with approved temporary employment petitions to remain stuck in administrative procedures for months and months. This has an adverse economic effect on the U.S. economy. The more cases stuck in administrative processing results in even longer delays for immigrants seeking to enter the country for both employment and family-based reasons. Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to helping both individuals and businesses resolve their immigration-related issues. Immigration law is a complex, ever-changing area of the law that necessitates legal advice from experienced immigration lawyers who keep up-to-date with all relevant changes in law and policy. We will work with you to achieve the most positive outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled immigration attorneys today.

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