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H-1B visa lottery applications drop 40% after fraud crackdown

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports a significant decline in H-1B visa lottery applications this year, attributing it to a successful crackdown on fraudulent practices. The number of lottery entries has fallen by almost 40% in 2024.

The USCIS revealed that the number of entries for this year’s lottery was 470,342, a significant drop of 38% from the 758,994 entries received in 2023, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Interestingly, while the number of applicants remained relatively stable, at around 442,000 this year compared to 446,000 last year, this indicated a sharp decline in the number of individuals making multiple attempts to apply.

H-1B visa bids tripled from 2021 to 2023 after the government slimmed down the voluminous paperwork to qualify for the lottery, saying the time-consuming, expensive task could wait until they won one of the up to 85,000 slots awarded annually be awarded in the lottery. the H-1B visa program.

Instead, a simple $10 electronic registration fee became the only requirement, making it easier for people to participate.

However, the USCIS found evidence that some companies and individuals were trying to game the system.

Last year, more than 400,000 of the 759,000 registrations were duplicates.

The USCIS implemented the new one-entry rule in 2024 after some companies and applicants discovered evidence of “gaming the system.”

“We realized that gaming the system was not helpful to anyone,” Jaddou said, reported to AP.

Previously, individuals could submit multiple applications to increase their chances of winning the lottery, creating an unfair advantage.

“We want to make sure (the visa) gets into the hands of people who are going to use it and help the nation,” said USCIS Director Ur Jaddou.

The H-1B visa program grants visas to highly skilled foreign workers in specialized occupations, often in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Major tech companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Meta and Google, rely heavily on H-1B visas.

During the past years, Indian technology professionals have dominated the H-1B cap-subject visasAccording to Forbes, this secures approximately 70% of the 85,000 available visas, including the limit of 20,000 master’s degrees for advanced US degree holders.

In 2022, Indians obtained 77% of the 320,000 H-1B visas approved. This year the USCIS expects approximately 350,000 applicants, a decrease attributed to new anti-fraud measures.

According to USCIS – the American agency that handles the visa process – random selections were made notifications sent to myUSCIS accounts.

Jaddou emphasized the USCIS’s commitment to ensuring a fair and efficient visa lottery.

While the total number of applicants remained relatively stable, the sharp decline in submissions indicates a significant reduction in the number of fraudulent applications.

Published by:

Girish Kumar Anshul

Published on:

May 1, 2024