The USCIS has announced it has begun investigations into what it terms “extensive fraud” during the FY2023 and FY2024 H-1B Registration processes (in March 2022, and March 2023, respectively).
U.S. employers wishing to sponsor a foreign national for H-1B status are required to submit a registration request on behalf of that person. If the request is selected, the employer can then submit an actual H-1B application for adjudication.
The USCIS began requiring these registrations in March 2020 for FY2021. In previous years, petitioners were required to submit complete H-1B application packets in the first five business days of each April. The USCIS would then hold a lottery and select enough petitions to fill the 85,000 “slots” available each fiscal year with those not selected having wasted a great deal of time and resources.
The following is a chart from the USCIS illustrating the ever-increasing number of registrations in the last four years, including the exploding number of multiple registrations for the same person:
|Cap Fiscal Year||Total Registrations||Eligible Registrations||Eligible Registrations for Beneficiaries With No Other Eligible Registrations||Eligible Registrations for Beneficiaries With Multiple Eligible Registrations||Selections|
Employers submitting registration requests are required to attest to the following:
- All of the information contained in the registration submission is complete, true, and correct;
- The registration(s) reflect a legitimate job offer; and
- The registrant, or the organization on whose behalf the registration(s) is being submitted, has not worked with, or agreed to work with, another registrant, petitioner, agent, or other individual or entity to submit a registration to unfairly increase chances of selection for the beneficiary or beneficiaries in this submission.
The dramatic increase in the number of multiple registrations for the same people in the past two years (from 28,125 in March 2021 to 408,891 in March 2023) has prompted the USCIS to state it has “serious concerns” many beneficiaries and employers may have worked together to game the system to the detriment of those who followed the rules.
It has stated if it determines any employer’s attestations are not accurate, it will invalidate the registration submission and find the employer(s) ineligible to file an H-1B application based on its selection. It can also deny or revoke an application that was previously approved if the registration contains a false statement and refer those involved to federal law enforcement authorities.
The USCIS recently stated:
Based on evidence from the FY2023 and FY2024 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 numbers above show more than half the submitted registration requests were from employers who ignored these attestations while the remainder were penalized by these actions through reduced chances of selection, wasted time and resources. While no request is guaranteed to be selected, these multiple registrations have dramatically tilted the scales against those who have complied with these attestations in making their submissions.
Since individual employers have no ability to address this problem, they can only hope the USCIS does through these ongoing investigations, increased enforcement resulting from them, and programming its system to detect and disqualify these multiple registrations in future years.