After the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) observed abuse and fraudulent activity by certain corporations that might artificially boost their probability of being granted the H1B visa, the United States disclosed its intention to overhaul the H1B registration process.
This latest announcement came after USCIS claimed that it had already conducted significant fraud probes and refused and revoked applications based on data from the fiscal year 2023 as well as the 2024 H1B visa cap seasons.
It purported to have identified that only a small fraction of businesses are accountable for repeatedly inputting the same candidates into the lottery in an effort to inadvertently increase their chances of getting an H1B visa.
The USCIS remains dedicated to adhering to the legislation and contributing to addressing the ever-shifting requirements of the US labour market, the agency said, adding that the H-1B visa programme is an integral part of both the country's immigration system along with its economy.
Although there was no accompanying job offer, the US government started asking H1B visa lottery winners to sign affidavits claiming they did not attempt to rig the system by collaborating with others to submit several bids under various firm names. They might effectively become labour contractors by selling their services to technology companies looking to fill positions but without the necessary visas if they at least once won.
The USCIS, the federal organisation that grants H-1B visas, stated that it is currently starting its referral procedures to law enforcement for potential criminal accusations. USCIS is drafting a sequel to the H-1B modernisation rule that will recommend, among other enhancements, reinforcing the H-1B registration procedure to mitigate the probability of abuse and fraudulent activities in the H-1B registration system, it continued.
In comparison to previous years, the USCIS reported an alarming momentum in the volume of registrations submitted throughout the registration process for the FY 2024 H-1B quota. For the year 2024's H1B visas computer-generated lottery, there were 7,80,884 purposes, compared to 4,83,927 in 2023, 3,01,447 in 2022, and 2,74,237 in the year 2021.
The number of registrations submitted, particularly for beneficiaries with multiple registrations, and for particular beneficiaries with just one registration all went up, as reported by USCIS.
According to the report, from 165,180 registrations the year before and 90,143 the year before, many more individuals this year registered under several applications, bringing the total to 408,891. H-1B visa validity is of three years, and an additional three may be supplemented if required, depending upon an applicant's requirement.
The federal agency issued a cautionary note that if a candidate or firm provided false information, it would find the application for registration to have been improperly submitted and would disqualify the potential petitioner from submitting a petition based on that respective registration. On top of that, USCIS stated that it could refer the person or organisation that submitted a false endorsement to the proper federal law enforcement agencies for scrutiny and may opt for further proceedings as required.
US tech professionals who are fighting against H-1B visas claim they have been addressing this fraud for a number of years. The administration of President Donald Trump suggested fixing the H-1B lottery system by giving preference to applicants with the most lucrative salaries.
Software programmers and others in the computer sector often apply for H-1B visas, which have become a flashpoint in the immigration controversy because of accusations that they are being used to deter US citizens and authorised permanent residents. Even though they have had to lay off people in other departments, technology businesses insist that they are essential for difficult-to-fill positions. Major tech firms have observed an overall reduction in winning lottery requests as the volume of applications has surged over the past two years, starting in 2021.
Source: The Economic Times
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