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Why Is the USCIS Thinking About Changes to the H-1B Lottery?

What Has the USCIS Thinking About Changes to the H-1B Lottery

There have been a lot of rumblings in recent months that the US Customs & Immigration Service (USCIS) is seriously thinking about making changes to the H-1B lottery system. The rumors started almost immediately after the USCIS discovered a sharp increase in the number of duplicate applications for FY 2024.

The two big questions are this: are changes forthcoming and, if so, what will they be? Regardless of the answers, one thing that is painfully clear is that the USCIS doesn’t issue nearly enough H-1B visas to satisfy annual demand. Put another way, the current lottery system is not keeping up with the demand for foreign-born workers.

Here at Graham Adair, business immigration is our specialty. We plan to keep an eye on the H-1B lottery. As soon as we know more about pending changes, we will pass that information along. For now, it might be helpful to understand why changes are even being discussed.

Companies Potentially Colluding

As previously mentioned, there was a significant increase in the number of duplicate H-1B applications for FY 2024. In FY 2023, the number of “eligible registrations for beneficiaries with multiple eligible registrations” stood at 165,180. The number rose to 408,891 for FY 2024. Incidentally, the number for FY 2021 was a mere 28,125.

Though the USCIS has not offered any supporting documentation, they claim to have suspicions of companies colluding to increase the chances that certain applicants will be selected in the FY 2024 lottery. The agency suggests that companies are working together to provide multiple job offers to individual candidates for the purposes of submitting more than one application.

Companies Submitting Multiple Applications

The USCIS also suspects that a small number of lesser-known tech companies have submitted multiple applications for foreign nationals. Again, no documentation was provided and no names were named. But if the allegations are true, it would amount to some employers knowingly submitting multiple applications while simultaneously requiring candidates to attest to truthfulness.

Bear in mind that candidates must attest to three things on their applications:

  1. That all the information contained in the registration submission is complete, true, and accurate.
  2. That the registration submission reflects a legitimate job offer from a legitimate employer.
  3. That neither the applicant nor another organization acting on their behalf is trying to game the system in order to increase the chances that the applicant will be selected in the lottery.

Of course, we simplified what applicants must attest to for the purposes of this post. The main point here is that applicants must attest to the fact that they are being completely truthful, and they are not working either individually or with others to artificially inflate their chances of being awarded an H-1B visa.

Graham Adair Can Help

We have no way of knowing whether the USCIS will modify the lottery process so as to make cheating more difficult. Should they decide to do so, we will not know exactly what the changes look like until a proposal is issued. In the meantime, we must work within the boundaries of the system already in place – even if it seems broken.

Graham Adair can help your company and foreign-born job applicants navigate the H-1B visa process. We can help ensure that paperwork is completed properly and submitted through the appropriate channels. We can help prepare your foreign-born applicants for the lottery as well. If you are trying to bring foreign nationals here to work and are confused by all things H-1B related, give us a call. We are business immigration experts.

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