July 25, 2024

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The federal agency said the US H-1B visa lottery system resulted in abuse and fraud

The federal agency said the US H-1B visa lottery system resulted in abuse and fraud

USCIS said it is in the process of initiating law enforcement referrals for criminal prosecution.

Washington:

A federal agency said Friday that a computerized lottery designed to select successful H-1B applicants each year has led to abuse of the system and a sharp increase in fraud efforts.

In an unusual statement, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said on Friday that, based on evidence from the FY2023 and FY2024 H-1B seasons, it has already conducted extensive fraud investigations, dismissed and canceled the petitions.

USCIS said it is in the process of initiating law enforcement referrals for criminal prosecution.

“The H-1B program is an essential part of our country’s immigration system and economy, and USCIS is committed to enforcing the law and helping meet the ever-changing needs of the United States labor market,” she said.

She added, “We are working on an upcoming H-1B update rule that will propose, among other improvements, an enhancement of the H-1B registration process to reduce the potential for abuse and fraud in the H-1B registration system.”

During the filing period for the 2024 H-1B fiscal year, USCIS said it saw a significant increase in the number of filings compared to previous years.

It said there were 780,884 applications for H-1B visas in the computer-generated lottery for this year, compared to 483,927 in 2023, 301,447 in 2022 and 274,237 in 2021.

Overall, it has seen an increase in the number of registrations submitted, the number of registrations submitted on behalf of patrons with multiple registrations, and the number of registrations submitted on behalf of unique patrons with only one registration.

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It added that the number of registrations related to people who applied more than once rose to 408,891 this year from 165,180 last year and 90,143 the year before.

The federal agency has warned that if the information provided by the applicant or the company is incorrect, it will find that the filing was not properly filed and the potential petitioner will not be eligible to file a petition based on that filing.

USCIS may deny a petition, or revoke approval of a petition, based on a filing that contained a false certificate and was therefore not properly filed.

“Furthermore, USCIS may refer the individual or entity that provided false testimony to the appropriate federal law enforcement agencies for investigation and further action, as appropriate,” it added.

A group of US tech workers, who are campaigning against H-1B visas, said they have reported such fraud over the past several years.

“The Trump administration has proposed reforming the H-1B lottery by prioritizing selection based on the highest wages. The administration has been sued, so now you have to deal with the fraud you are complaining about,” she said in a statement.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by the NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)