U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the results of the fiscal year (FY) 2024 H-1B initial registration period and expressed concerns about fraud.
During the registration period for the FY 2024 H-1B cap, USCIS saw a significant increase in the number of registrations submitted compared to prior years. For FY 2024, total registrations were 780,884, with 110,791 registrations selected. For FY 2023, there were 483,927 total registrations, with 127,600 selected. The total number of H-1B visas that can be issued each year is 85,000.
USCIS said that the large number of eligible registrations for beneficiaries with multiple eligible registrations, which was much larger than in previous years, “has raised serious concerns that some may have tried to gain an unfair advantage by working together to submit multiple registrations on behalf of the same beneficiary. This may have unfairly increased their chances of selection.” USCIS said that each petitioner signs an attestation under penalty of perjury, and that if the agency finds that the attestation was not true and correct, it may deny the petition or revoke approval, and may refer the petitioner for investigation and law enforcement action. “Based on evidence from the FY 2023 and FY 2024 H-1B cap seasons, USCIS has already undertaken extensive fraud investigations, denied and revoked petitions accordingly, and is in the process of initiating law enforcement referrals for criminal prosecution,” the agency said.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) noted that an “eye-popping 408,891 registration applications were for individuals on whose behalf multiple employers submitted a registration, a 147% increase in multiple registrations from last fiscal year.” AILA President Jeremy McKinney said, “These numbers starkly highlight both how the H-1B system doesn’t meet legitimate demand, and how the registration system has been left vulnerable to exploitation.” AILA called for measures including ensuring that every available visa is used; promulgating a rule by USCIS and the Department of State to change how the H-1B lottery is run, basing it on individuals with bona fide job offers rather than registrations; and executing USCIS’s announced plan to thoroughly investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute those who submit fraudulent registrations.