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U.S. denials of specialized work visas soar

| Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 8:42 p.m.

Foreigners trying to get into the United States through specialized work visas are being denied at a higher rate, nearly fivefold in the past six years, according to a report to be released on Wednesday.

Petitions by U.S.-based companies to transfer their foreign-based employees with “specialized knowledge” into the United States were denied 34 percent of the time last year — compared with a 7 percent denial rate in 2007, according to a new report from the National Foundation for American Policy.

From 2012-13, the number of specialized visas, known as L-1B visas, approved by the federal government fell from 14,180 to 11,944. At the same time, denials increased from 6,068 to 6,242. The visas allow workers to stay in the country for as long as five years.

Stuart Anderson, executive director of the foundation, said it's hard to understand why the denials have gone up so dramatically. But he said the increase lines up with the beginning of the country's recession, meaning officials within the government might have aimed to slow down the flow of workers into the United States.

“Some people may have had the impression that by keeping companies from transferring in employees that that somehow was going to promote American jobs,” Anderson said.

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