The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has raised concerns over the surge in applications for H-1B visas in the technology industry.
The agency reported that the number of applications for H-1B visas has increased for the second consecutive year, with a record-breaking 780,884 applications received in this year’s lottery.
Hiring through H-1B Visa Program
The H-1B visa program is a popular route for technology giants such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and IBM to hire skilled foreign workers. Each year, the US government allows up to 85,000 individuals to be selected for H-1B visas.
However, the USCIS has raised concerns over possible attempts to manipulate the system to gain an unfair advantage.
Also Read: US Lawmakers Urge Public Release of H-1B Visa Approval and Denial Rates
Possible Manipulation of System Raises Concerns
According to the agency, the large number of eligible registrations for beneficiaries with multiple eligible registrations has raised concerns that some may have tried to gain an unfair advantage by working together to submit multiple registrations on behalf of the same beneficiary. This may have unfairly increased their chances of selection.
USCIS has undertaken extensive fraud investigations based on lottery submissions from the last two years, denied some petitions, and is in the process of referring some cases to federal prosecutors for possible crimes.
Registrations from Repeat Applicants Rise Sharply
The number of registrations tied to people who applied more than once rose to 408,891 this year, compared to 165,180 last year and 90,143 the year before that.
USCIS has stated that it remains committed to deterring and preventing abuse of the registration process and ensuring that only those who follow the law are eligible to file an H-1B cap petition.
Also Read: Relief for Foreign Workers: US Court Allows H-1B Visa Holders’ Spouses’ to Work
H-1B Visas Remain Controversial in Immigration Debate
H-1B visas have been a controversial topic in the immigration debate, particularly in the tech industry. Critics argue that they are used to replace US citizens and permanent residents. However, tech companies argue that they are essential for filling hard-to-fill positions, even as they have had to lay off workers in other areas.
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