The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it received 758,994 cap-subject visa registrations for the fiscal year 2024 (FY 2024). This record-breaking amount represents the highest number of registrations the USCIS has ever received. It marks a significant development for the agency due to the sheer demand it means. However, it could also show the sheer number of fraudulent submissions the agency predicted.
As expected, the number of registrations has increased year after year. However, this increase has led the USCIS to suspect some employers have attempted to beat the lottery system used to select registrants randomly. Some critics have also pointed to fraud.
They claimed that multiple employers submit applications or use other means to file for the same individual to improve that person’s odds. These issues stem from the electronic registration system that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) introduced in 2020. This system allows an employer to submit information about itself and its prospective employees.
This information includes the employees’ names, genders, and dates of birth; it costs only $10 to register. The electronic lottery randomly selects filed registrations. Once chosen, registrants may submit an H-1B petition to acquire a work visa allowing them into the United States. The agency then reviews and adjudicates the petitions.
In FY 2024, USCIS suspects multiple small technology companies may have conspired to submit 408,891 entries. If true, this effort would have significantly improved their selection odds in the lottery system. According to the USCIS, 52% of beneficiaries had multiple registrations filed on their behalf. The agency believes this high percentage lends hints at significant fraudulent attempts.
U.S. law allows employers to submit one registration per worker for cap-subject H-1B registrations only. However, individual workers may accept a legitimate job offer from multiple employers. The USCIS has described an attempt of fraud as multiple employers colluding to increase a prospective employee’s odds of selection.
As a result of the 52% receiving multiple registrations, the USCIS intends to investigate any potential fraud cases. The agency may refer fraudulent registrations for criminal prosecution when appropriate. Many suspect the agency will make significant changes for future H-1B lotteries due to these suspicions of fraud.
Employers should prepare for potential changes and review their policies to ensure compliance. For example, they should evaluate their employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process, which has recently changed. One of the best ways to ensure compliance with all new hires is by using an electronic I-9 management tool. This tool provides HR personnel with assistance in completing every step. It also offers other features, including electronic storage for forms and documents and reminders of when to take further action.
When it comes to your employees, automation makes eligibility verification quick and simple. Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.