USCIS Suspects Fraud in Employers’ Use of H-1B Electronic Lottery System

USCIS Suspects Fraud in Employers’ Use of H-1B Electronic Lottery System
May 4, 2023

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently opted to take serious fraud prevention measures in its H-1B lottery. This decision comes despite a surge of applications for the program. Based on findings from fiscal years 2023 and 2024, the USCIS uncovered a great deal of fraud, misrepresentation, and abuse within the system. As a result, the agency began investigating many cases, revoking and denying many petitions. Where appropriate, they will even refer law enforcement for further prosecution of any criminal fraud committed.

The USCIS reiterated its belief in the H-1B program as an essential component of US immigration policy, significantly impacting the economy and labor market. This claim justifies their commitment to further modernization of the program. 

Furthermore, the USCIS expects new rules that would strengthen the program. Improving the program would decrease fraud and abuse within the registration process. This news will likely please critics of fraud within the H-1B program, who felt abuse had been rampant for many years. Though changes have come up before, a serious attempt at cracking down on fraud has not succeeded.

The rigorous approach likely reflects that the H-1B registry saw an influx of applications for the fiscal year 2024. As such, the USCIS hopes to prevent a similar rise in fraud with this inflow. While registrations shot up across the board, the USCIS noted a particular increase in cases tied to people with multiple applications.

According to the agency, this happens when several companies make offers and file applications on a potential employee’s behalf. The USCIS noted that multiple companies filing applications for one employee could significantly increase that individual’s selection odds. However, this practice can become an abused loophole in the system if the individual does not have genuine employment offers.

The USCIS further cautioned that applicants must supply honest and accurate information. Failure to comply will render the registration useless and improper, making it impossible to complete their petition. The USCIS can and will deny or revoke improperly submitted petitions based on false information.

Furthermore, submitting falsified registrations could become a serious matter if the USCIS suspects attempts of fraud. In such cases, the agency may refer the case to relevant law enforcement agencies. According to the recent statement, the agency intends to take instances of abuse more seriously.

As the focus on employers hiring foreign national workers grows, ensuring compliance with federal regulations is more important than ever. For example, ensuring compliance with the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process will prove crucial. This step confirms that newly hired employees can work in the United States. The best way to ensure I-9 compliance is with an electronic management tool. This tool can provide step-by-step guidance. It also offers a suite of features, including helpful reminders and storage for forms and documentation.

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