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H1b Visa fraud news - 2023

For more than a week now, there has been news about fraud in the H1B visa lottery process.

So, what is this fraud that people are talking about, what does the USCIS have to say about it,

What role does consultancies have in this and will this change anything at all? We will discuss all this and some more in this article.

So, what’s the news?

On April 28, USCIS announced that this year they saw a sharp increase of 61% in total registrations for the H1Bl lottery amounting to over 780K registration as compared to ~480K last year.

H1b Visa Fraud 2024
H1b Visa Fraud 2024

Total H-1B registrations in 2024

What concerned them more was that of all the 780K registrations, ~408K registrations were for only 96000 candidates. Which means 96K candidates had more than 4 job offers and all those companies decided to file an H1b for them.

Yeah, So What if they had 4 offers. They must be smart

Sure. They may be smart. After all, multiple registrations for a single candidate is actually not a crime if the job offer is legitimate. But, If companies that win a visa then quickly contract an employee out to third parties, or lay off an employee on the visa so he or she can switch companies, that could potentially amount to fraud.

Ok, So why does the USCIS think that there’s some fraud happening with H1B?

First, just the sheer increase in the number of applications this year compared to last year. Here’s a chart on the screen to give you some perspective. As you can see, multiple eligible registrations increase from 165K to 408K.

Total & Eligible Registrations over the years
Total & Eligible Registrations over the years

Image source: USCIS

USCIS also said that they have found evidence that a small number of companies are responsible for entering the same applicants into the lottery multiple times, with the alleged goal of artificially boosting their chances of winning a visa.

Has the USCIS named any of these companies?

At this time, they haven’t named any firms or companies yet but they’ve mentioned that they’re from small tech or IT companies.

What action is USCIS taking?

According to WSJ, “The companies have been referred to federal law-enforcement agencies for potential criminal prosecution, a USCIS official said”.

If the USCIS finds out that some of the entries that were selected in the lottery were fraudulent, they hope to disqualify those visa applicants.

Will there be a second H1B lottery?

If enough of those applications are rejected, the official said, it is possible that the government will run a second lottery to hit the congressionally mandated 85,000 visa cap”

So, will the H-1B registration become tougher soon?

Nobody can say that because USCIS hasn’t come up with a response to this.

Here’s the statement that they’ve made:

“We are working on an upcoming H-1B modernization rule that will propose, among other improvements, bolstering the H-1B registration process to reduce the possibility of misuse and

fraud in the H-1B registration system”

One more suggestion that has come up is to tie each entry to an individual's passport number and restrict them to only one application.

“This means, each individual will have only one application. So that way you don't increase somebody's chances unfairly, but it also creates an issue because there could be more than one genuine job offer, which might not be violating the regulation."

So, what about the honest ones?

We know that it can be demotivating to hear news like these. But unless there’s a larger Immigration reform we’ll have to deal with stop gap arrangements. And with every such arrangements, there are plenty of people waiting to find loopholes in the system. What we can concentrate on the things that we can control and leave the rest to destiny.

We hope this article was informative and helpful for all of you. Please share it with your friends if you think it will help them.

Remember that if things aren’t going your way, It’s Ok Yaar. They soon will. Until then, It’s Priya signing off. Have a great day.

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