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Almost a third of new applications for the high-skilled worker H-1B visa were denied in the first quarter of this fiscal year — a higher rate than any annual H-1B denial rate in at least a decade, according to a new analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy.

Expand chart
Data: National Foundation for American Policy; Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: In addition to working to limit asylum-seekers and ramp up border security, the Trump administration has also implemented new rules and policies that are making it more difficult for even high-skilled legal immigrants to come to the U.S.

  • The last quarter also saw the highest denial rate (18%) in at least a decade for applications from U.S. employers to renew or transfer H-1B visas for current holders or amend previously denied applications.
  • That comes even as Trump says he wants the "largest numbers ever" of legal immigrants, and as Jared Kushner is reportedly drafting an immigration proposal that would allow more immigrant workers into the U.S.

Between the lines: Companies across the board that depend on foreign workers have seen their denial rates rise, but the large outsourcing companies such as Wipro, Infosys and Cognizant have been hit especially hard. All of them had denial rates of more than 50% in the first quarter of 2019, compared to new denial rates of less than 10% in FY2015.

Go deeper

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, outside the Minnesota Governor's residence during a protest in support of George Floyd in St.Paul, Minnesota, on March 6. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

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