New USCIS Measures to Combat Fraud in H-1B Processing

FY2024 was a landmark year in H-1B lottery registrations. USCIS received the most it has ever had in history during the initial registration period, including those who qualified for the advanced degree exemption (master’s cap). But there was a downside to this landslide: The number of fraudulent petitions also exceeded historical records, and USCIS has taken this year as a learning experience, implementing new measures to combat fraud in the future.

The H-1B Registration for FY2024 in Summary

Due to many factors, such as the turmoils causing unrest in various political climates and the changes in the economy post-COVID, USCIS expected to see an increase in the number of registrations in FY2024. But most people didn’t expect it to nearly double FY2023’s already significant total.

Still, there’s no serious problem with this particular factor. There are a limited number of H-1B visas allotted annually, and too many registrations simply mean that more applicants weren’t selected.

The issue begins when you look at these numbers more closely.

Illegal Submissions

Per the H-1B registration guidelines, employers can only submit registrations for each beneficiary once. The beneficiaries can apply through various unconnected employers, but any duplicate employer submissions are marked as invalid.

In previous years, these numbers were minimal, as you’ll always likely have those who try to get a leg up by working around the system, hoping not to get caught. But in FY2024, the number of illegal submissions was so substantial that it caused USCIS to come under scrutiny for having too-lax practices.

One category where this is clearly a red flag is that of Eligible Registrations for Beneficiaries with Multiple Eligible Registrations. While beneficiaries can have multiple eligible registrations, as mentioned earlier, this generally doesn’t exceed more than 25% of the total registrations each year. This year, however, there were 758,994 eligible registrations, and more than half (408,891) were beneficiaries with multiple submissions.

The concern is that some employers may have tried to gain an advantage by working with other companies to enter a particularly coveted foreign worker into the system multiple times. This would unfairly increase that beneficiary’s odds of selection while technically remaining within the USCIS rules. No matter which way you look at it, though, that would still be a fraud.

Heightened Anti-Fraud Measures

USCIS’s stance is that the organization is committed to ensuring the registration process isn’t abused and that the only H-1B petitions filed are by those who have followed the letter and intent of the law.

Petitioners must sign an attestation that says all of the information in the submission is “complete, true, and correct,” and the registration constitutes a valid job offer. The attestation also claims that the registrant (or organization submitting the registration on their behalf) has not worked with or agreed to work with any other registrants, petitioners, agents, or other entities to submit the registration with the intent of unfairly increasing the selection chances of the beneficiary.

This attestation is clearly marked “under penalty of perjury,” and USCIS is on a mission to find those employers who have lied in their attestations and deny the petition or revoke the approval. From there, the employers filing the registration will be referred to the appropriate federal law enforcement agencies for further investigation and consequences.

These fraud investigations have been underway since 2023, and law enforcement referrals have resulted in cases against filing employers for criminal charges. Due to the numbers that we see already, it’s quite likely that these cases will continue for the next few years as USCIS uncovers more fraudulent activity.

What’s Next?

The US government wants to continue using the H-1B program for skilled foreign workers to boost the economy. For those who file legitimately to have the best chance of success, the agency must keep the rules updated and actively combat fraudulent registrations.

As the rules change, H-1B beneficiaries and sponsoring employers need to remain in compliance. The best way to do this is to work with an immigration expert like those of us at Visa2US.

USCIS continues to add modernization rules to its already challenging requirements, and at Visa2US, we stay on top of legislation before and as it occurs. If you want to ensure your registrations and petitions withstand the most thorough scrutiny of the latest laws possible, contact our attorneys and let us guide you through all the changing red tape. At Visa2US, we let you focus on your family and career while we do the legwork to boost your chances of getting a successful H-1B visa.

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.