"It appears much of the increase in the denial rate has been focused on Indian nationals. US Citizenship and Immigration Services denied more new L-1B petitions for Indians in FY 2009 (1,640) than in the previous nine fiscal years combined (1,341 denials FY 2000-2008)," the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) said in its report released yesterday.
L-1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows companies to send employees who have worked abroad for at least a year and possess 'specialised knowledge' to work in the US for up to five years.
In its latest report, NFAP said in fiscal 2009, the denial rate of new L-1B petitions for Indians increased to 22.5 per cent even though there was no change in regulations.
In contrast, for Canada, the UK, China and other countries, the denial rate in FY 2009 ranged from 2.9 to 5.9 per cent for new L-1B petitions.
USCIS did not release country-specific data for FY 2012 and FY 2013 but interviews with employers and attorneys indicate that problems with receiving approvals for L-1B petitions involving Indian nationals have continued, it said.
"Preventing companies from transferring their own employees into the US discourages job creation, innovation and investment from taking place in America," said Stuart Anderson, NFAP executive director.
According to the report, the continuing high rate of denials and requests for evidence for L-1B petitions has a negative impact on the ability of companies to make products and services in the US and compete globally.
"It is very difficult for companies to make business decisions when there is so much uncertainty in the L-1 visa process," said Lynden Melmed, partner, Berry Appleman & Leiden and former chief counsel at USCIS.
"A company is going to be unwilling to invest in a manufacturing facility in the US if it does not know whether it can bring its own employees into the country to ensure its success," he added.