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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

Pakistan PM will "absolutely not" allow CIA to use bases for Afghanistan operations

Pakistan will "absolutely not" allow the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to use bases on its soil for cross-border counterterrorism missions after American forces withdraw from Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan tells "Axios on HBO" in a wide-ranging interview airing Sunday at 6 pm ET.

Why it matters: The quality of counterterrorism and intelligence capabilities in Afghanistan is a critical question facing the Biden administration as U.S. forces move closer to total withdrawal by Sept. 11.

4 hours ago - World

U.S. wants nuclear deal done before Iran's new president takes power

Iranian negotiatorAbbas Araghchi arrives at the Grand Hotel Wien for the nuclear talks. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration wants to finalize a deal with Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal in the six weeks remaining before a new Iranian president is inaugurated, a U.S. official tells Axios.

Key quote: The official said it would be "concerning" if talks dragged on into early August, when Iran's transition is due to take place. "If we don't have a deal before a new government is formed, I think that would raise serious questions about how achievable it's going to be," the official said.

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