USCIS Conducts Investigation into Potential Abuse of Lottery System

USCIS Conducts Investigation into Potential Abuse of Lottery System
May 10, 2023

As of March 27, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received sufficient electronic registrations for 2024. According to the USCIS, they received 780,884 registrations. This amount exceeds the previous year’s 483,927 by 61 percent. Increases like this have become a trend since 2021.

However, the USCIS also noticed a notable increase in multiple registrations for eligible beneficiaries. This correlation could indicate that some individuals and companies collaborated to obtain advantages by submitting several registrations for the same beneficiary. This strategy would significantly improve the beneficiary’s chances of the USCIS selecting them.

As a result, the USCIS investigated the situation and found several companies that could prove responsible for possible illegitimate registrations. In addition, this investigation could reveal that many registrations involved multiple petitioning employers. An example showed that, out of 400,000 registrations, as many as 100,000 could prove fraudulent. The USCIS noted that this number accounted for approximately half of the 2024 fiscal year.

When registering, every potential petitioner has to attest “under penalty of perjury,” that:

  • “All of the information contained in the registration submission is complete, true, and correct;
  • the registration(s) reflect a legitimate job offer; and
  • The registrant, or the organization on whose behalf the registration(s) is being submitted, has not worked with, or agreed to work with, another registrant, petitioner, agent, or other individual or entity to submit a registration to unfairly increase chances of selection for the beneficiary or beneficiaries in this submission.”

However, this does not mean that a foreign worker cannot have several companies submit a registration for them. Instead, it means the registration must concern a legitimate job offer that the registrant will complete if selected. Otherwise, the USCIS sees these actions as an attempt to inflate the lottery’s numbers if the applicant does not have legitimate offers.

The USCIS stated that it would fight fraud by conducting extensive investigations. The agency also intends to refer those that gave false attestations to law enforcement agencies for possible prosecution. Furthermore, the USCIS emphasized that it would disqualify registrants who participated in fraud intending to improve their chances, including those already chosen by the lottery. The USCIS also said it might deny a petition or revoke a previously approved one if it discovers a false attestation included in the registration.

As a result of the investigations, the USCIS may include additional lottery selections because it intends to legitimize the H-1B registration numbers for the 2024 fiscal year. Regardless of the added selections, employers with chosen registrations must complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process.

However, this can prove complicated due to the documentation the registrants may present. The best way to ensure they accurately complete Form I-9s is by investing in an electronic I-9 management system. This system will guide employers through the entire process, store the form and documentation, and send alerts when to take action.

Streamline your hiring process with an automated employment eligibility verification and ensure compliance today with I-9Compliance.