H-1B lottery system has resulted in abuse, fraud, says US immigartion service

  • The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it has already undertaken extensive fraud investigations, and denied and revoked petitions

Livemint
Updated29 Apr 2023
H1-B visa: computerised drawing of lots devised to select successful H-1B applicants has resulted in fraud
H1-B visa: computerised drawing of lots devised to select successful H-1B applicants has resulted in fraud(Reuters)

The US immigration agency has said that the H1B visa lottery system has resulted in fraud. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that the computerised drawing of lots devised to select successful H-1B applicants has resulted in abuse of the system and a sharp increase in fraudulent efforts.

USCIS said that in FY2023 and 2024, it has already undertaken extensive fraud investigations, and denied and revoked petitions. And added that it is in the process of initiating law enforcement referrals for criminal prosecution.

“We are working on an upcoming H-1B modernisation 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,” USCIS said.

The immigration agency stated that during the registration period of FY2024, it has seen a sharp increase in the number of registrations submitted compared to prior years.

The application number this year went up to 780,884 against 4,83,927 in 2023 and 3,01,447 in 2022 and 2,74,237 in 2021.

The number of registrations tied to people who applied more than once rose to 408,891 in 2023 from 165,180 last year and 90,143 the year before, it added.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

Error in H1-B visa application:

The US immigration service has warned that if the information provided by an applicant or a company was not correct, it will find the registration to not be properly submitted and the prospective petitioner would not be eligible to file a petition based on that registration.

The USCIS may deny a petition, or revoke a petition approval, based on a registration that contained a false attestation and was therefore not properly submitted.

A group of US Tech Workers, who are campaigning against the H-1B visas, said they have spoken about such a fraud for the past several years.

“The Trump administration had proposed a fix to the H-1B lottery by prioritising selection based on highest wages. You sued the administration so now you have to deal with the fraud that you are complaining about,” it said in a statement.

Last week, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu said they are on track to issue more than a million visas to Indians this year to make sure it processes all of the student visas for Indians whose school starts this fall.

“We've also been prioritising work visas: H-1B's and L visas. Wait times at some of our consular sections in India, for these visas are now below 60 days. We will continue to make sure that we prioritise visas for workers, as this is vital for both the American and the Indian economy,” Lu said.

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