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H-1B Lottery Fraud Probe: Possibility of Additional Draw?

USCIS sees significant increase in FY 2024 H-1B cap registrations, including multiple and unique beneficiary submissions.

H-1B Lottery Fraud Probe: Possibility of Additional Draw?

On March 27, 2023, USCIS received sufficient electronic registrations to meet the fiscal year 2024 H-1B numerical allocations, including the advanced degree exemption (master's cap). This means that the H-1B cap has been reached.

USCIS observed a substantial surge in the number of registrations submitted during the FY 2024 H-1B cap registration period compared to prior years. There was a rise in the count of registrations submitted for multiple beneficiaries and also for unique beneficiaries with a single registration. One of the contributors to this surge is the largest tech layoffs since the 2008 financial crisis that is ongoing in 2023.

Here is a chart showing the registration and selection numbers for fiscal years 2021-2024:

(United States Citizenship and Immigration Services)

In this year's lottery, the Biden administration has found evidence that several small technology companies have conspired to increase the chances of their foreign hires winning H-1B visas for skilled workers.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services has found that a few companies have entered the same applicants into the lottery multiple times to artificially boost their chances of winning. While it is not illegal for foreign workers to have multiple companies submit visa applications on their behalf, companies must attest that they have a real job for the employee in question if they win a visa. The practice has inflated demand for visas to a record high this year, with 780,884 entries for 110,791 visa slots.

A historically lower percentage of the applicants who entered the H-1B lottery were invited this year. There will likely be a second draw around July and August, and those who didn't get invited may be included in the draw again.

USCIS has conducted significant fraud investigations, denied and rescinded petitions based on findings from the FY 2023 and FY 2024 H-1B cap seasons, and is currently taking steps to initiate referrals for criminal prosecution.

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