Denial rates for new H-1B petitions for initial employment dropped to 1.5% in the fourth quarter of the last federal fiscal year ended Sept. 30 after courts ruled that some Trump administration H-1B policies were unlawful, the National Foundation for American Policy reported last week. That compares to a denial rate of 21% through the first three quarters of federal fiscal year 2020.

Denial rates had been 21% in federal fiscal year 2019 and 24% in fiscal year 2018.

The foundation noted that denial rates during the Trump presidency were higher than the denial rates of 5% to 8% between fiscal years 2010 and 2015.

One driver of the decrease was a court ruling on June 17, 2020, that required US Citizenship and Immigration to rescind a memo involving contract and itinerary requirements for H-1B petitions involving third-party worksites. The USCIS also rescinded the January 2010 “Neufeld” memo, which the foundation said was interpreted more aggressively during the Trump administration.

“The memos and their interpretation were blamed for much higher denial rates for H-1B petitions, particularly for information technology services companies,” according to the foundation.

It also said judges in 2020 more frequently ruled against restrictive interpretations of whether a position met the definition of an H-1B specialty occupation.

The National Foundation for American Policy is a nonpartisan policy research group.