A US federal agency has announced plans to modernize the H-1B registration process after detecting abuse and fraud by some companies to artificially increase their chances of obtaining the coveted visa for their skilled foreign workers during the computerized lottery.
The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows U.S. businesses to employ foreign workers in specialized occupations requiring academic or technical expertise. Tech companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees every year in countries like India and China.
In an unusual statement, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said Friday, based on evidence from fiscal year 2023 H-1B cap seasons and fiscal year 2024, that they had already undertaken thorough fraud investigations and dismissed and revoked petitions.
USCIS, the federal agency that issues H-1B visas, said it is initiating law enforcement referrals for criminal prosecution.
He said he discovered that a small number of companies were responsible for entering the same lottery applicants multiple times, allegedly to artificially increase their chances of winning a visa.
“The H-1B program is a vital part of our nation’s immigration system and our economy, and USCIS is committed to implementing the law and helping to meet the ever-changing needs of the labor market. American work,” he said.
“We are working on an upcoming H-1B modernization rule that will propose, among other improvements, to strengthen the H-1B registration process to reduce the risk of misuse and fraud in the H-1B registration system. “, he added.
USCIS said that during the registration period for the FY 2024 H-1B cap, it saw a significant increase in the number of registrations submitted compared to previous years.
He said there were 7,80,884 applications for H-1B visas in this year’s computer-generated lottery, up from 4,83,927 in 2023 and 3,01,447 in 2022 and 2,74,237 in 2021.
Generally, it saw an increase in the number of records submitted, the number of records submitted on behalf of recipients with multiple records, and the number of records submitted on behalf of unique recipients with a single record.
The number of registrations linked to people who applied more than once rose to 408,891 this year from 165,180 last year and 90,143 the previous year, he said.
H-1B visas are issued for three years and can be extended for three years.
The federal agency warned that if the information provided by an applicant or business was not correct, it would find that the registration was incorrectly submitted and the potential applicant would not be eligible to file a petition based on this recording.
USCIS may deny a petition, or revoke a petition approval, based on a record that contained a false certification and was therefore not properly submitted.
“In addition, USCIS may also refer the person or entity who submitted a false certification to the appropriate federal law enforcement agencies for investigation and action, if appropriate,” he said. .
A group of American technicians, who campaign against H-1B visas, said they had spoken of such fraud in recent years.
“The Trump administration had offered a solution to the H-1B lottery by prioritizing selection based on the highest salaries. You sued the administration, so now you have to deal with the fraud you complain about “, he said in a statement.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)