Second H-1B Lottery Reveals More Fraud From First Round

Everyone in the immigration world has closely followed the results of FY 2024’s lottery since the first round selection in March. Once US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported a substantial number of potentially fraudulent registrations, we wondered what the effects would be. USCIS announced a second lottery in July to fill the gaps between the accepted registrations and the allotted amount of visas, and the results show even more fraud than was visible during the first round. Read on for the details.

USCIS Predictions

Based on the registrations reviewed, USCIS predicted a low approval percentage, expecting less than 50,000 of those selected to make it through the petition process. Not only does each registration need to meet the criteria that prove the sponsor and beneficiary are legitimate, but there are many other obstacles, including financial requirements, background screenings, and other qualifications.

Selection rounds seem less than promising, with many petitions including multiple entries for the same person. Although this isn’t necessarily fraud, it does cast a shadow over the visa lottery selection process. If more than one slot is given to the same person, that person can only receive one visa. What happens to the rest? This is a flaw in the system that must be addressed, but even taking out the multiple registrations, USCIS expects to reject more than 75% of the registrations.

By the Numbers

The first round of lottery registrations brought a massive, record-breaking 780,884 applicants. This increase was more than 60% over the year before, which already had set records at 483,927 registrations in FY 2023. However, USCIS officials announced that FY 2024’s high number of registrations was due to multiple entries for the same potential beneficiaries. 

There isn’t a rule against this, provided none of the job sponsors conspired together to break the rules and increase the beneficiary’s chance of selection. But it also reduces the workflow of the lottery process, which randomly selects from registrations, not individuals. In essence, if a potential visa holder received 85,000 unique job offers from 85,000 legitimate job sponsors, there would be a slim chance that this person could be randomly selected for all 85,000 visas allotted. 

USCIS recognizes this issue on a more reasonable scale: if even one person was selected in the lottery twice, there’s one open visa waiting to be given out.

The Second Lottery

Because of the high number of duplicate registrations, a second lottery took place on July 31, 2023. At that time, 77,600 new selections were chosen, and those registrants were notified timely. These were reviewed as properly submitted. With this number, the cap is presumed to be reached.

Consider that there are only 85,000 visas available, to begin with. If this many were chosen in the second round, it means that very few in the first round met the criteria to continue the visa petition path. Per USCIS, officials believe 50,000 or fewer will make it to the approved H-1B visa status.

Overall, this places the approval rate of petitions at under 50% — 45.1%, exactly. Using those statistics, USCIS chose 77,600, assuming that about 45% of the new selections will also reach approval status. But a third lottery selection round is possible if these numbers are off the mark and even fewer are approved.

What’s Next?

USCIS expects that some of the selected registrants will withdraw their petitions or have a petition denied. In some cases, analysis of the sponsor or beneficiary will show fraud, which makes the process slow and discouraging.

Due to changes in immigration policies in immigrant-friendly countries like Canada, the government recognizes the need for change. While Canada’s latest program is designed to bring in highly skilled foreign workers, America’s system is full of kinks that deter these individuals from applying.

With these realities fogging up the horizon for US employers in the future, it’s expected that lawmakers will revamp the immigration system. In the meantime, your career doesn’t have to sit on hold. Our professional legal attorneys at Visa2US are here to guide your steps and help you move forward with your goals as an employer or employee. Contact us today to discuss your situation and find out the best path to reach your career target.

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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.

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