Visa denial rates for highly skilled workers were already hurting Texas businesses before Trump administration ordered new limits

The Texas economy relies heavily on temporary work visas, like H-1Bs, to hire highly trained international employees. But there was un uptick in denial rates for H-1Bs even before the Trump administration moved to limit them.

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Temporary visas for highly skilled noncitizen workers are key for Texas businesses, but they could be in short supply soon.

The federal government issues 85,000 of those visas — known as H-1Bs — annually to businesses nationwide via a random lottery, which includes 20,000 for those with advanced degrees from U.S. universities. The process was already under intense scrutiny before President Donald Trump ordered a limit on foreign workers.

Denial rates increased from 13% in 2017 to 33% through the second quarter of 2019, according to the National Foundation for American Policy.

Some Texas small-business owners say losing out on the chance to hire skilled foreign workers hurts their businesses — and that’s bad for the state’s economy. But President Donald Trump has said his immigration policies are designed to put American workers first and only give visas to foreign workers with extraordinary skills.