President Donald Trump's administration is challenging an increasing amount of H-1B visa applications for high-skilled workers, according to a Wednesday Reuters report.
The U.S. has sent out more than 85,000 visa challenges to H-1B applicants this year, a 45-percent increase over last year.
The number of requests for H-1B status increased by just 3 percent from 2016, Reuters reported.
The H-1B visas allow foreign workers to fill highly skilled positions in healthcare, technology, and education for three years at a time. The report said that Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Google were among the top users of the program.
Those companies have said that the H-1B visas allow them to fill specialized jobs for which few Americans qualify, although critics of the program say that it replaces American workers with workers from abroad for lower pay, Reuters reported.
"They're doing anything they can to delay the processing and adjudications and in their mind close any perceived loopholes," immigration attorney Anthony Pawelski said.
The challenges can slow down the issuance of the visas by months, according to Reuters.
"What the Trump administration has done for the first time in a very long time is take seriously the fact that companies are misusing the H-1B system," said Russell Harrison, IEEE-USA director of government relations.
In April, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it was probing "fraud and abuse" of the H-1B visa program.
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