USCIS Receives Record-Setting Number H-1B Visa Registrations for FFY 2024

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received 758,994 H-1B cap-subject visa registrations for FY 2024, the highest number ever received. In response, USCIS selected 110,791 registrations to meet the annual H-1B visa quota of 85,000, equivalent to a newly low selection rate of 14.6%. Selected employers had until June 30, 2023, to submit their full H-1B visa petitions for adjudication.

Although the high number of registrations is unsurprising, this record-setting number has caused USCIS to raise questions about potential employer fraud. Historically, critics of the H-1B visa program have accused employers of attempting to game the system by submitting multiple applications for the same person or setting up contracts or other arrangements to file for the same person.

USCIS claims that this year, “several dozen small technology companies” conspired to submit registrations for the same 96,000 workers – for a total of 408,891 entries – to boost their odds of selection. These circumstances resulted in more than half of the registrations being suspected of fraud, although the overall number of valid registrations was still significantly higher than in FY 2023.

U.S. employers may only submit one H-1B visa cap registration per person. However, there is no prohibition on multiple companies submitting registrations for the same person, so long as they are based on legitimate job offers. Still, USCIS sees the practice as circumnavigating or gaming the system to inflate the number of registrations and has made clear its intent to investigate potentially fraudulent attestations and refer them for potential criminal prosecution.

The high number of registrations still underscores the need to modernize the U.S. immigration system and raise the H-1B visa cap. Even excluding the potentially fraudulent registrations, over 75% of the H-1B visa registrations would be unsuccessful. Due to the low annual cap on H-1B visas, employers cannot secure talented foreign-born workers. As demand continues to grow, the cap remains the same, even though Congress has acted to raise the cap in the past based on demand. Interest in the H-1B visa program remains higher than ever, even amidst layoffs in the tech sector.

USCIS is also developing a rule to modernize the H-1B visa system. A drastic increase in the H-1B visa fee, from $10 to $215, is also likely to be in place by next year’s lottery. Similarly, USCIS may announce a second lottery due to the high number of registrations received for FY 2024. However, it is unlikely that USCIS will announce a second lottery until July after the full petition filing period for selected registrants closes.

HBL has experience in all areas of benefits and employment law, offering a comprehensive solution to all your business benefits and HR/employment needs. We help ensure you are in compliance with the complex requirements of ERISA and the IRS code, as well as those laws that impact you and your employees. Together, we reduce your exposure to potential legal or financial penalties. Learn more by calling 470-571-1007.

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Hall Benefits Law, LLC

HBL offers employers comprehensive legal guidance on benefits in mergers and acquisitions, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), executive compensation, health and welfare benefits, healthcare reform, and retirement plans. We counsel a wide spectrum of clients including small, mid-sized, and large companies, 401(k) investment advisors, health insurance brokers, accountants, attorneys, and HR consultants, just to name a few. HBL is passionate about advising clients, and we are dedicated to our mission: to provide comprehensive, personalized, and practical ERISA and benefits legal solutions that exceed client expectations.

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